Her boyfriend woke up early Wednesday morning to the sound of the smoke detector.
After he got up, he saw that heavy smoke was filling their Manchester, N.H. apartment just before 3 a.m., according to the Associated Press.
When fire fighters arrived at the evacuated apartment, they found the source of the smoke: Inside the apartment’s oven was a “burnt item,” WHDH reports — and that “item” was a 2-year-old ferret named Angel, which belonged to Cara Murray, who lived at the apartment with her boyfriend, James Klimavich.
The dead animal had “distinct linear burn marks” on it when firefighters discovered it, AP reports, showing exactly where the animal had been placed on the oven rack.
The ferret had allegedly been tossed in the oven by Murray’s temporary roommate, Ivana Clifford, 26, who police say then turned the oven on and cooked the ferret. Clifford told police that she put the ferret in the oven and turned it on to get revenge for Murray “stealing her clothes,” AP reports.
Murray told police that Clifford was living with her “temporarily,” according to WMUR.
Before Clifford moved into Murray’s apartment, Murray told NH1 that Clifford and her husband “were staying with another person that lived in our building, and he kicked them out so we felt bad for them and we took them in.”
For Murray and her boyfriend, the loss is an unthinkable one.
“To lose a ferret is like losing a kid,” Murray said. “I just can’t believe she did that.”
Once police had spoken with the two permanent residents of the apartment, they had “gathered enough probable cause to arrest Clifford who was charged with one count animal cruelty,” according to the New Hampshire Union-Leader.
“It was just devastating, devastating,” Murray told NECN.
The animal cruelty charge Clifford faces is a felony, NECN reports. Her bail has been set at $10,000.
The Associated Press reports that Clifford said to police that she was pregnant, and that her pregnancy meant Murray should not have been keeping ferrets.
Clifford appeared in court on Wednesday, CBS Boston reports.
“These allegations demonstrate a profound level of sadism that is of deep concern to this court,” the judge told Clifford in court, according to NECN.
Murray told NH1 that she thinks Clifford killed the ferret because it had nipped her earlier in the day, though Murray said the bite didn’t draw blood.
“She nips. She’s a baby,” Murray told NH1. “And that’s why she put our ferret in the oven.”