A security guard has denied a series of charges after nine cats were killed in a spate of nighttime attacks in the Brighton area.
Steve Bouquet, of Rose Hill Terrace, Brighton, is also accused over attacks that left seven other cats seriously injured.
The 53-year-old appeared in the dock at Brighton Magistrates' Court on Thursday morning charged with 16 counts of criminal damage and one of possession of a knife.
The charges follow a spate of attacks on cats around the city, which the prosecutor David Holman said took place mostly at night.
Wearing a black leather jacket over a white shirt, Bouquet appeared before a courtroom packed with public and press.
He entered not guilty pleas to all 16 charges of criminal damage and also denied a single charge of possession of a knife.
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District judge Tessa Szagun told him the charges were so serious that they must be dealt with at a crown court.
Bouquet was bailed to appear at Lewes Crown Court for a hearing on February 20.
The Crown Prosecution Service has said the criminal damage charges did not detract from the seriousness of the allegations.
The charges relate to incidents between 2 October 2018 and 1 June 2019.
Cats and other animals are considered as property under legislation, and criminal damage can attract a heavier sentence than animal cruelty.