An Oildale man is set to appear in court Friday morning after being charged with eating cats, officials said Tuesday.

Jason Louis Wilmert, 35, pleaded not guilty in Kern County Superior Court Feb. 7 to one misdemeanor charge of using animals commonly kept as pets or companions as food, and one misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals, court documents show.

A pretrial hearing in the case is set for Friday at 8:30 a.m., according to the court website.

While Kern County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ray Pruitt said he could not comment on the case, since it had already been sent to the District Attorney's office, he did confirm that the sheriff's department arrested Wilmert and that the department is the investigating agency.

"We investigated the case as animal cruelty," he said.

Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michael Yraceburn said he also couldn't comment on the case, other than to say that "the individual is being prosecuted for using cats as a food source."

The sheriff's department and court website shows that Wilmert was booked Feb. 3 on the animal-related charges.

The site shows he was also booked on a warrant for charges of burning in a non-agricultural setting, obstructing an officer and littering.

According to the site, Wilmert remains in custody. His total bail is set at $22,500, the site said.

-- The Californian