Ryan T. Carleton (below) makes his initial appearance before Judge Kevin Stitham (upper left) in Piscataquis County Judicial Court. Carleton attended via video conference from the Piscataquis County Jail. Credit: Nina Mahaleris / BDN

A Piscataquis County man who allegedly beat his father’s cat to death with a frying pan was given a $5,000 cash bail or a $20,000 surety during his initial appearance in Piscataquis County Court Monday afternoon.

Ryan T. Carleton, 43, formerly of Guilford, was arrested Thanksgiving Day and taken to Piscataquis County Jail. He is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, criminal trespass and violation of bail conditions.

Carleton made his initial appearance via video conference from the Piscataquis County Jail.

Along with the cash bail, Judge Kevin Stitham ordered Carleton to agree to an ongoing curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and to be subject to searches. The defendant told the court previously that he would be living in New York City, but refused to give a specific address during his appearance Monday, telling Stitham, “I can’t give it out on this public forum.”

He was ordered to provide a court clerk with a specific address as part of his conditions later on.

Carleton unsuccessfully tried to address the court directly multiple times while Stitham determined bail. The judge asked a clerk to mute the defendant’s microphone to prevent him from interrupting during the proceeding.

Assistant District Attorney R. Christopher Almy speaks to media about Ryan Carleton’s case outside of the Piscataquis County Courthouse the afternoon of Nov. 30. Credit: Nina Mahaleris / BDN

Despite a request from Carleton’s lawyer for the day, Christopher Smith, for an unsecured bail, Stitham issued a cash or secured bail. The judge said it was clear an unsecured bail hasn’t been sufficient in making sure that Carleton abides by his bail conditions.

Carleton was released from jail Wednesday on an unsecured bond for the third time in a month after appearing before Stitham on other charges. His conditions were to not have contact with his mother, who resides in Guilford, or his father, who lives in Sangerville.

The dead cat was discovered Thursday morning when Carleton’s father called police around 7 a.m. to report that his son was “out of it,” and acting violently, according to a police affidavit. The father told deputies that he had allowed his son to stay at his home Wednesday — against the judge’s orders — because he had nowhere else to go.

The cat was apparently named “Little Princess,” and was 8 or 9 months old. Its body was found beside a bloody cast iron frying pan upstairs in the room where Carleton had been sleeping.

The father told the deputy that he was afraid his son would do the same to him.

“One of the things that people need to understand about this case is that killing a cat is evidence of perhaps the man being psychotic,” R. Christopher Almy, assistant district attorney, said after Carleton’s initial appearance Monday.

“When you have abusers in a home, they sometimes want to get control by threatening to kill or actually killing pets. And in this case, what you can infer is that by killing that cat, he was sending a message to his dad that he could be next.”

Aggravated cruelty to animals is a Class C offense, punishable for up to five years. The theft charge also is Class C because Carleton has two prior theft convictions, Almy said.

Carleton will be held without bail on his previous charges pending a hearing for a motion to revoke bail at 10 a.m. Dec. 28. The disposition conference will also be held that day.