Rescuers see all sorts of horrors in their quest to give abused, neglected and abandoned animals a second chance at life. But a recent case in the Arizona border town of Hildale, Utah, left even seasoned shelter staff shocked by this “disturbing act of animal cruelty.”
When a Utah woman discovered a strange cat in her yard, she could immediately tell the orange and white cat needed some help. The injured animal was bleeding, burned, and in desperate need of medical attention.
But when the woman rushed the cat to the animal hospital, this heartbreaking case took a sinister turn. Upon investigating the cat’s wounds, veterinarians could tell somebody had intentionally tied the cat up, lit him on fire, and proceeded to torture this innocent animal by making deep gashes all over his body.
“Hildale is known to be a tough spot for animals, but this level of cruelty should unnerve the community,” Rachel Heatley, the director of advocacy for the Humane Society of Utah, wrote in a statement. “In the interest of public safety, an individual who is capable of torturing an animal needs to be identified and taken off the street as soon as possible.”
Heatley also noted the strong link between animal abuse and violent crimes that threaten the entire community, her point being is that nobody is safe until Sterling’s attacker is apprehended. This has led HSU to offer a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Sterling’s abuser. “This needs to be taken seriously,” Heatley said. “Who knows what else this person or these people are capable of.”
At least Sterling himself has proven to be quite the survivor. Veterinarians had to stitch up the cat’s open belly and treat his many burns, but the brave cat did great in surgery and is responding well to his various treatments. Sterling is still on medications to manage his pain and prevent future infections, but this model patient has even managed to charm hospital staff, who call him “Mr. Handsome.”
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It’s so heartbreaking to think of what evil this innocent cat endured, but we’re so grateful that Sterling is finally in a safe place with loving caretakers who will tend to his wounds and help him get adopted whenever he’s healthy and ready. “But for today, he is getting loved and spoiled,” rescuers wrote on Facebook. “And he will never be abused again.”
Please call the Colorado City Marshal’s Office dispatch line at 928-875-2695 if you have any information about this crime.
J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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