A Greymouth freezing worker has admitted setting a cat on fire and leaving it to burn to death while a friend filmed the ordeal.
Jason Dale Rowling, 27, appeared at the Christchurch District Court today where he pleaded guilty to a charge of wilfully ill-treating an animal.
The court heard Rowling was under the influence of drugs when the cat was put into a cage sometime between May 1 and May 15 last year and taken to a Greymouth beach.
Rowling discussed setting the animal on fire with a friend on the way to the beach, and it was later let out of the cage and set on fire. It ran around in pain for some time before its eventual death and one of the men filmed the entire ordeal on a cell phone.
Police have been unable to find the cat's owner.
Lawyer Tom Stevens told the court Rowling was "desperately ashamed" of his involvement.
The case has been passed on to the Greymouth District Court with Rowling remanded in custody, and due to be sentenced next month.