Donations are pouring in to Utah animal rescue groups from concerned people who want to catch whoever fatally beat and tortured a cat with hot glue.
The cat, named Sage, showed up barely alive on the doorstep of his Clearfield home on Wednesday after going missing for several days. Sage had been shaved, his whiskers had been cut, and he had a broken paw and broken ribs, one of his owners, China Cassel, wrote on Facebook. His eyes had been glued shut, hot glue and construction caulk were stuck to his body, and his face was burned, Fox 13 reported. Though Sage’s owners rushed him to the vet, he died a day later.
“He was so hurt, he couldn’t even meow,” Deborah Barnes, president of the Humane Society of Northern Utah, told Time. “He couldn’t do anything. This is the worst case of abuse I’ve ever seen. It was just horrifying that someone would do this.”
The Humane Society of Utah initially offered a reward of $5,000 leading to the arrest and conviction of the abuser. As of Sunday, donations to both the Humane Society of Utah and the Humane Society of Northern Utah had swelled the reward to $49,285, Fox 13 reported. The Humane Society of Northern Utah also set up a “Sage’s Friends Memorial Fund,” which will aid animals that survive abuse. That fund had more than $20,000 as of Monday.
On Sunday, more than 150 people gathered in support of Sage’s family, and to raise awareness about animal abuse. “He loves people, he loves being loved,” Cassel told Good4Utah of Sage. “He would always come over and just start rubbing his paws on you and just purr for attention.”
In the announcement of the gathering on Facebook, the Humane Society of Northern Utah included a photo showing the gray and white cat before he went missing.
Frank Ascione, researcher at the University of Denver’s graduate school of social work, also attended the gathering. He noted to Good4Utah that abusers of animals often move on to violence toward humans.
“A very thorough psychiatric or psychological evaluation needs to be done of this individual to find out if there are other victims we may not be aware of ― both animal victims and human victims,” Ascione said.