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A 27-year-old Duluth man allegedly fatally shot his roommate's four ferrets with a BB gun because the pets smelled and he said one of them was laughing at him.

Levi J. Arneberg was charged in St. Louis County District Court with one count of gross-misdemeanor animal cruelty for each of the ferrets he's accused of killing last Tuesday in their apartment in the Endion neighborhood of Duluth.

Arneberg was jailed on the afternoon of the incident and remains held in lieu of $20,000 bail. A message was left with his attorney Monday seeking a response to the allegations.

According to the criminal complaint:

Maurice Guski called 911 early in the afternoon of Jan. 18 to report that he came home to find that some of his possessions had been thrown outside by Arneberg. The two had argued the night before about Guski's belongings accumulating in their shared apartment space.

Guski said Arneberg held a kitchen knife and said, "It would be bad if one of [the ferrets] were hurt. Get ... out!" the charges quoted the defendant as saying.

Officers detected drops of blood in the entry before finding more blood in a room where Guski kept his ferrets. The officers soon located the dead ferrets in the alley.

Arneberg told the officers, "Dude, I killed his ferrets, give me a break," the charges read.

He said he shot them with a BB gun because they smelled, and added, "I swear the thing was laughing and breathing, laughing and breathing, and I just kept shooting it in the ... head," the charges continued.

Guski, 57, told the Star Tribune that the ferrets — a female named Cali and males Calix, Bear and Draco — "were emotional support animals. They helped with my anxiety after I had a stroke almost three years ago."

He said he moved in August to Duluth from Lafayette, La., where he ran a ferret rescue operation for about eight years.

Guski, who said he works in security, said ferrets cost about $300 to $400 each. Despite the expense, he said, "I will get ferrets again."