updated 12/30/2004 6:23:15 PM ET 2004-12-30T23:23:15

Two Wal-Mart employees have been charged with felony animal cruelty after police said they followed a manager’s orders to shoot and kill a stray cat.

The men, both assistant managers at the Supercenter, were arrested and released after a court appearance Wednesday. Christopher Anderson, 29, and Jeffrey Hardin, 21, told police the store’s manager ordered them to get rid of the animal that was living in a storage trailer behind their store.

Anderson and Hardin repeatedly shot the cat with a pellet gun from the store until it died the following day, a Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Department report said.

All managers potentially involved in the incident have been suspended without pay pending an internal investigation and could be fired, said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sharon Weber.

“We were outraged when we learned of this incident. This kind of action is completely inconsistent with the way we do business,” she said.

A truck driver who reported the incident said he saw store employees placing what he believed to be a dead animal in shrink wrap a day after he heard workers joking about shooting the cat.

Store manager Darrel Weitzel told police he had told some of his employees to get a gun and get rid of the cat after attempts to coax it from the trailer failed, according to a police report.

Anderson and Hardin were scheduled for a hearing next Tuesday.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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