A Kentucky woman was charged with assault after she allegedly squirted breast milk into the face of a deputy, sparking online debate Sunday in the local media.

Toni Tramel, 31, was arrested Thursday for public intoxication in Owensboro, WYMT-TV reported, but it is what she did next which has attracted headlines.

As Tramel changed into an inmate uniform, she squirted a stream of breast milk into the face of the female deputy watching over her.

A press release from the Daviess County, Kentucky, Detention Center, said that after the deputy decontaminated herself from the "bio-hazard", Tramel was charged with third degree assault.

While the public drunkenness was merely a misdemeanor offense, the assault is a felony charge and a US$10,000 bond was set.

Reports of the case have sparked debates about whether using breast milk as a weapon should constitute a felony assault case, with many readers likening it to an accused person spitting on an officer.

Also sparking feedback has been the use of the term "bio-hazard" to describe breast milk.