An animal protection official says a New Jersey man slit the throat of his girlfriend's ferret after the couple got in an argument. The animal survived.

The 20-year-old Neptune man was charged Monday with animal cruelty.

Buddy Amato, animal cruelty prevention chief for Monmouth County, says the couple got in a fight early Sunday, and the woman left and called police.

Police say the man was taken into custody, and when the woman returned later that morning to pick up her belongings, she saw that her ferret's throat had been cut ear to ear.

Dr. Rosanna Scali said the ferret's throat had been sliced by a knife. The veterinarian also found defensive wounds on the animal from trying to fight off its attacker.

The ferret underwent surgery and has been returned to its owner.