PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) _ A cat owner whose pet was bashed to death by his friends says he may have inadvertently spurred the attack when he shouted the animal's name - Killer.

''I yelled out, 'Killer 3/8' and I think they misunderstood what I said,'' said Gary Hegler, 43, of Fort Gratiot Township.

Michael Wood, 34, and John Zeros, 33, were arraigned Wednesday on charges of maliciously destroying an animal belonging to someone else. The offense carries up to four years in prison. They were released on $3,000 bond.

Hegler, who wasn't charged, said his two friends were at his house Firday.

''One guy was petting the cat and it scratched him. The cat was thrown and it stunned the cat,'' he said. ''I called out her name - 'Killer 3/8' I don't think they understood what I said.''