07/07/2015 01:05 EDT | Updated 07/07/2016 05:59 EDT

Calgary senior facing charges after kittens found dead in garbage

CALGARY - A 75-year-old Calgary man accused of strangling up to three cats and throwing them in the garbage has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty.

Police say a utility worker found two kittens dead Monday morning in a garbage container in a southeast neighbourhood.

The worker tried to rescue the third kitten, but it fled and is believed to be in extreme medical distress.

Officers called to the scene also found 15 rabbits living in deplorable conditions in the backyard of an area home.

Ottavio Pio Marchesan has been released and his court date is Aug. 20.

The Calgary Humane Society is still investigating to determine whether additional charges should be laid.

Marchesan says he sees nothing wrong with raising rabbits for pets and for food and doesn’t believe he should face charges.

He says there are several stray cats in the neighbourhood and that he was trying to protect the birds.

When asked if he did kill a cat, Marchesan said: "Yes, because he came and killed my bird in here."

Marchesan said a stray cat wandered into his yard one day, killed a robin, and terrorized the other birds that he treats as pets.

"I tried to clean them up, there’s a hundred cats run here, two come into my trap there. I was intending to clean up the system here, not to kill the cat, but I was caring for my birds,” he said.

Marchesan also said he's upset that officials took away his rabbits.

(CFFR, CTV Calgary, The Canadian Press)