PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh man has pleaded no contest to animal cruelty in the deaths of feral cats authorities say ate poisonous mothballs he left in his yard.

Forty-four-year-old Daniel T. Smith sought to plead guilty to three counts in the case last fall, but an Allegheny County judge wouldn’t allow that after he contested the mothball evidence.

Prosecutors say Smith contended that he sprayed the cats with bleach and beat them with a hockey stick. Officials said he killed the animals in July 2015 because he was tired of finding feces on the sidewalk.

After Monday’s plea to six counts of animal cruelty, Judge Kevin Sasinoski sentenced Smith to six to 23 months in county jail and paroled him immediately. He was also ordered to pay a $500 fine.

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