Two teens from central Alberta pleaded guilty Wednesday to breaking into a home and microwaving the family cat to death.
The pleas were entered as the two were to face trial on charges of break and enter and causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal.
The boys, both 17, admitted to breaking into the home in Camrose, about 100 kilometres southeast of Edmonton, over two nights in December 2007 while the family was away on Christmas holidays.
In an agreed statement of facts presented in provincial court in Camrose, the boys said they ransacked the home, smashing guitars and a television. When they returned the second night, they put Princess, the family cat, in the microwave and ran the oven for 10 minutes while they listened to the animal scream in pain before it died.
On their way out of the home, the statement said, they painted two messages on the walls.
"It's in the microwave," one message said. The other read, "You had a nice cat."
Crown prosecutor John Laluk said the fact that the teenagers decided to accept their role in the crime was a positive sign.
"In conversations I've had, I would describe them as being extremely remorseful — both of them," he said.
Two other teenagers accused in the same case pleaded not guilty in April to similar charges and are scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 17.
About a dozen demonstrators gathered outside the tiny courthouse, as they have during previous court appearances by the accused.
"I was happy they put in guilty pleas," said Laura Johnson, who held a sign that read "Justice for Princess."
"I know they can't get much for sentences, I really hope these boys get treatment."
On the main street of Camrose, residents admitted their initial shock over the incident has faded somewhat,
"I'm glad they stood up to it. That shows maturity," said Dianne Albers. "I feel sorry for the boys, what they have to live through and live here."
The lawyer for one of the accused said the boy and his family have been harassed so much, they had to move away from Camrose.
The two teens will be back in court July 17 for sentencing.