May 31, 2013
BOSTON, May 31, 2013 – The MSPCA-Angell announced today it has increased its reward from $2,000 to $3,500 for information leading to an animal cruelty conviction in the widely publicized case of a stray cat found critically wounded in April by a shotgun blast. The announcement of the reward increase follows an exhaustive first phase of the investigation conducted by the organization’s Law Enforcement, which to date has not revealed a suspect.
Since the MSPCA announced in early May it had taken on the case, Law Enforcement officer Christine Allenberg has canvassed Northbridge and surrounding towns in search of clues. She has interviewed over 100 individuals; scoured phone records and gun license databases for information that could reveal the owner of the firearm used; analyzed bullet fragments and forensics evidence found on the scene; visited a nearby gun range multiple times to determine whether a connection between the range and a suspect could be established; and coordinated with local police officials to share information.
Despite this a suspect has yet to be identified. “This has been as thorough an investigation as we can mount but at this stage we have reached an impasse because of a lack of evidence,” said Officer Allenberg. “Someone knows who did this and we’re hoping the increased reward will prove to be the incentive necessary for them to call.”
The MSPCA’s Law Enforcement hotline has received only one call as a result of the case. The lead did not result in the securing of additional evidence or identification of a suspect. “We need the person who knows who did this to call us. The Northbridge police department has been very helpful in sharing information and resources with us—but we need help from the public in order to solve this case,” said Officer Allenberg, who stressed that callers can remain anonymous if they wish.
The orange tabby cat, estimated to be no more than five years old, was found on April 18 on property belonging to James Knott Sr. of Northbridge, Mass. Knott, an animal lover, rushed to the property to collect the cat and bring him to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Grafton. Veterinarians had to amputate the cat’s left hind leg as it was too damaged to be saved. Moved by the cat’s plight, Knott opened up his home to the animal—who he has renamed “Tiger”—where the cat is now living.
The MSPCA-Angell’s Law Enforcement department announced a $2,000 reward on May 2 for information that leads to an animal cruelty conviction in the case of a stray cat found critically wounded by a shotgun blast. The amount was the largest initial reward the MSPCA ever offered at the start of an animal cruelty investigation, reflecting the level of cruelty imposed on the cat, who suffered for up to two days with a mangled, infected and extremely painful hind leg.
Animal cruelty is a felony crime in Massachusetts that carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
The MSPCA-Angell Law Enforcement team works with the organization’s adoption centers, hospital and advocacy experts to investigate animal abuse in Massachusetts. In 2012 the department investigated over 2,000 animal cruelty complaints around the Commonwealth.
Readers can click here if they would like to donate to the MSPCA’s Law Enforcement department as it investigates alleged animal cruelty cases.
The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions from individuals who care about animals. Please visit www.mspca.org