Maybe I am a little extreme in these cases but I often feel if they can do that to an animal, they are perfectly capable of doing it to a human therefore it should be treated like an attack on a human. In fact, I find it worse because and animal won't have the ability to call for help etc, can't really fight back (then again tell tell that to my cat when you try to take his mouse away!) and will not have provoked a person e.g verbal insults.
I watched an advert on TV the other day for the RSPCA (UK animal society) showing a beautiful little kitten lying on a table, voiceover asking what it should be dreaming. It had been killed at 8 weeks old, thrown against the wall by its 'owner' becasue he was in a foul mood. I couldn't help but cry. These people are twisted.
There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats!