|Death: ||Jul. 5, 2009|
DARBY — An orange tabby cat found severely burned outside the Darby Free Library died Sunday night, despite being rushed into emergency care.
"I've never seen anything like this," said Dr. Melissa Resnick, a veterinarian at Old Marple Veterinary Hospital.
The hospital sees many cases of animal cruelty, but Resnick said the cat, which came in singed from head to tail with black plastic burned onto his skin, was an especially bad case.
Still, veterinarians immediately put him on oxygen and pain medication to try to stabilize him, she said. He died around 7 p.m.
The cat was found badly burned but alive outside the library on North 10th Street around 11 a.m. Sunday, said Animal Control Officer Dave Schlott.
When he arrived, police were on the scene and the cat was lying in a patch of poison ivy near the parking lot.
Besides looking malnourished and dehydrated, the cat was burned from his whiskers to his tail and crying in pain, Schlott said. He suffered from fourth-degree chemical burns on some of his body from the plastic.
Schlott said the injuries appeared to be caused by a quick flash fire, but he didn't smell any kind of lighter fluid.
"It's sort of a mystery," he said.
Resnick said veterinarians initially thought they would have to euthanize the cat, but then decided there was a chance for survival.
During treatment the cat started showing show signs of internal trauma, Resnick said, raising fears that he might have been beaten before being lit on fire.
A police officer declined to release information Sunday, but Schlott said they are looking for a juvenile in connection to the incident.
Darby Council President Janice Davis, who lives nearby, said she walked over to the scene after seeing emergency responders.
She was horrified by the cat's condition, and said she tried to speak to him soothingly as he was placed in the van.
"I've never seen nothing like this," she said. "It was sick. It made me sick that someone would do that."
Davis said some older children described seeing a boy between the age of 7 or 8 years old in the area around the time of the incident, and she hopes someone will come forward with more information.
"Nobody wants to hurt him, but we want him to know he can't do this," she said.
Cruelty to animals is a summary offense that, for adults, can result in fines and imprisonment.
Schlott is offering a $100 award for anyone who has information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information regarding the incident should contact Darby Police at (610) 586-1100.
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Record added: Jul 06, 2009
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