There! I said it. No human is allowed to be harsh to animals. Nor are we allowed to torture them, mentally or physically, in any way. Period.
It is related from AbdulRahman bin Abdullah that a group of Companions were once on a journey with the Prophet (SAWT) when he left them for a while. During his absence, they saw a bird with its two young and they took the young ones from the nest. When the Prophet Muhammad (SAWT) came back, the mother bird started circling above them, beating its wings in grief. He said, "Who has hurt the feelings of this bird by taking its young? Return them to her." (Muslim)
Allah Blesses You for Showing Kindness to Animals