A 19-year-old man is facing animal abuse charges in connection with incidents where a dog and cat were found dead in a Calgary alley with their mouths taped shut in January.

Both animals were found in the alley in the 200 block of 99th Avenue S.E. Officials say the animals were obtained through Kijiji online classifieds a few months before their death.

Nicolino Ivano Camardi

Nicolino Ivano Camardi has been charged with two counts of wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal. (Facebook)

A necropsy determined the Siberian husky had died of starvation, while the cat had been strangled after suffering “multiple traumatic injuries” to its head, tail and limbs.

Police searched a home in the 9900 block of Bonaventure Drive in January. A cat has since been removed from that same home. 

After a lengthy investigation by the Calgary Humane Society's protection and investigations department, Nicolino Ivano Camardi was charged with two counts of wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal.

News reports of the animals’ deaths prompted calls for tougher penalties for animal abusers. In Canada, the maximum penalty for animal cruelty charges is five years in prison. An online petition has also been started to bring awareness to the issue.

A local vet raised thousands of dollars for a reward leading to an arrest in the case.

"The public outcry in this case was warranted," said Brad Nichols, manager of cruelty investigations. 

"As was the resources that we sank into it. So — yes — it did take four months, but we were thorough and we were happy with the package we put together. I think we have a solid case for conviction."

'This was methodical'

Camardi made his first court appearance Monday morning.

"On the face of it, it appears to be intentional cruelty and not the average abuse-type case where someone gets really mad at an animal for house soiling or something and loses their temper temporarily," said Nichols. "This was methodical, it was chronic and ended in the animals' deaths."

Camardi is also expected to appear in court next week for other charges against him, which include threats to cause death or bodily harm, unlawful confinement and breach of probation in connection with a separate incident in March.

The case follows the announcement of a few other high-profile Kijiji cases in Calgary.

A Calgary woman was recently fined $7,000 for exploiting animals online and more than 50 neglected exotic animals were seized from a basement suite in Bowness after being obtained for free on Kijiji.

"It's not necessarily Kijiji that's the bad guy in this," said Nichols. "It's just a vehicle online. People need to be very wary on both buying and selling online." 

The humane society says the cases highlight why people should never advertise a pet as free to a good home.

WARNING: The photos below may be disturbing for some. Do not click through unless you want to view images of the animals.