Animal cruelty has been in the news lately. Last week, we published an article about a case, currently before the North Carolina Court of Appeals, in which a Durham woman was convicted of felony animal cruelty after stabbing a dog to death. (She claimed her act was in self-defense.)

Yesterday The New York Times published a front-page story about a Brooklyn man charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty after he allegedly kicked a cat 20 feet into the air in an act that was captured on video.

Now this week, another Durham man was charged with beating his pit bull to death. The Durham County Sheriff’s Office charged Aaron Thomas, 41, for felony cruelty to animals, alleging in an arrest warrant that on Aug. 17 he “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did kill a brown and white male pit bully type puppy named Patches by beating the dog.”

Thomas, who lives in East Durham, was arrested Tuesday and released from jail after posting a $2,500 bond. Yesterday he failed to appear in court, and another warrant was issued for his arrest.

Felony animal cruelty charges are on the rise across the country following the passage of stiffer laws. Last year in Durham 11 people were charged, and two people were convicted.