What happened to Sage is inexplicable.
The 6-year-old feline, belonging to a family in Clearfield, Utah, was tortured, beaten, his eyes sealed shut with hot glue before succumbing to his injuries hours later on March 9.
What began as a $5,000 reward for catching the person or persons responsible for the heinous act, has now reached over $50,000, as the horrific details of the cat’s story have outraged many across social media and beyond.
“It is humbling to see the number of people wanting to help and take action on behalf of Sage,” says a Facebook post written by the Humane Society of Utah, which has been sharing regular updates on the case. “We understand that this case is not only about the death of a cat; it represents a larger issue about the serious nature of animal abuse and its relationship to other anti-social behavior, cruelty and crime. People understand that whoever was capable of this heinous behavior needs to be apprehended for the safety of the community.”
The story first gathered attention when the cat’s owner, China Rose, posted graphic photos of Sage on Facebook on March 8, after the cat, who was the obvious victim of horrific torture, somehow made his way home.
“What we saw broke our hearts,” Rose’s Facebook post said. “He was beaten, and he was totured [sic]. His whiskers were cut. His fur was shaved. His face was beaten. His ribs are snapped. His paws are broken. He can’t walk. He can’t speak. He was totured [sic] with hot glue. As well as with silicone. His eyes are swollen shut. He is hurting. He came home with a black collar on that didn’t belong to us. How he made it home, will never make sense. But the fact that he found his way home to us, indicates how strong Sage is. He is a fighter. Our hearts are broken because there is so little we can do.”
Sadly, on March 9, Sage, who was being treated at Advanced Veterinary Care (AVC), took a turn for the worse, and died from his injuries (an attempt to revive him with CPR proved unsuccessful).
The Humane Society of Utah was appalled by the violence and urged pet owners to keep their animals indoors to prevent injuries.
“This gratuitous torture of a cat has us at a loss for words,” said HSU representative Deann Shepherd. “It is disgusting and frightening that someone or some people would intentionally cause this much pain and injury to a helpless creature. As one of the most extreme cases of animal torture we’ve seen, we hope that someone will come forward with information to hold the person responsible for their actions and remove them from the community before they cause any further harm.”
With the reward now hovering at the $56,530 mark on Wednesday, the hope is that someone will know something and come forward, serving justice for Sage. (Anyone with information is urged to contact Davis County Animal Services at 801-444-2200 or Clearfield Police Department at 801-525-2806. Tips can remain anonymous.)
On Monday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced that it would be placing a billboard in Clearfield to help protect other cats from abuse. A spokeswoman told PEOPLE they were still in the process of securing the space.
The Humane Society’s most recent post on Tuesday said authorities involved were vigorously pursuing leads in the case.
“Hundreds of leads have been received so far,” said Clinton Thacker, director of the Davis County Animal Care and Control. “We have assigned a veteran officer to the case. In turn, that officer is working closely with a detective from the Clearfield Police Department. All leads and tips are being pursued.”