CREATED Oct. 30, 2012 - UPDATED: Oct. 30, 2012
LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Animal control officers need your help tonight after a cat is reported to be lit on fire and burned alive. They're hoping witnesses will come forward with information about this disturbing case. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason joins us live now with the gruesome details.
The cat was severely burned but somehow survived. Officers say it appears someone did this intentionally and now they need your help.
The cat was found Monday evening in Lehigh Acres. Fire officials responded to a small brush fire and found the cat badly burned and nearly dead. The Battalion Chief called Lee County Animal Services to report: "Someone lit a cat on fire and it's laying in the ditch still alive."
Mike Mason: "What kind of a person could do something like that?"
Andrea Rothwell: “I don't know i have no idea but i'm glad we're here and our facility is here to help pick up the pieces for animals that are abused like this."
Today the cat is still in horrible pain. Her face and back singed and bloody, whiskers gone, ears so badly burned they're curled back.
Andrea Rothwell: “Right now she's on some pain relievers, some antibiotics, save for her eyes and her ears."
Officers suspect someone may have used an accelerant like hairspray and, with a lighter, sprayed flames at the cat. They don't think she was caught in a brush fire because there are no burns marks on her paws. But with no witnesses coming forward there's little they can do.
Andrea Rothwell: “We have no idea exactly what happened to the cat."
We do know in the past several months there has been a spike in animal abuse cases. In April, the owner of these starving pit bulls was cited for cruelty in Fort Myers. In June, this dog named “Reggie” was so badly neglected it was on the brink of death.
Laura Chavarria: "Extremely, extremely thin and its skin looked like elephant skin."
And 3 weeks ago in Collier County, this lab named “Raven” was in such bad shape he was taken from his owners and is now up for adoption. Officers hope to break this disturbing trend and prevent people from hurting the pets they are supposed to protect.
Andrea Rothwell: “It's a heinous crime to do any kind of abuse to an animal they're so defenseless they're so helpless they don't have a voice for themselves."
If you have any information about this or any case of animal abuse call Lee County Domestic Animal Services at 239-533-7387..