RedRover, a national nonprofit animal protection organization based on Sacramento, is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever doused a cat with accelerant and lit her on fire in a public park last Tuesday in West Sacramento.

Yolo County Animal Services is looking for the suspect or suspects who intentionally torched the cat.

Animal Services responded to a call of the severely burned cat around 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, according to a news release from Chief Animal Services Officer Vicky Fletcher.

Witnesses had observed what appeared to be a ball of fire moving through Circle Park near Circle Street and Alabama Avenue.

When the witnesses went to investigate, they found the cat badly burned but still alive and called for assistance while staying with the animal until Animal Services arrived, Fletcher said.

The cat, a female stray domestic short hair brown tabby, was transported by Animal Services to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital for emergency care.

Ultimately, the cat had to be euthanized due to the severity of her injuries.

“We hope our reward will encourage someone who knows more about this brazen and cruel act to come forward with information that could lead to an arrest,” said RedRover President and CEO Nicole Forsyth. “Violence toward animals is often a precursor to violence toward people, so West Sacramento residents have a stake in seeing that whoever committed this sick and disturbing act is punished to the full extent of the law.”

A study conducted by the Massachusetts SPCA and Northeastern University showed that people who abuse animals are five times more likely commit violence against people, four times more likely to commit property crimes and three times more likely to be involved in drunken or disorderly offenses, according to RedRover.

RedRover pledges rewards around the country to encourage witnesses to step forward with information about animal cruelty crimes and to highlight the need for harsher punishments in such cases.

However, RedRover has only paid the reward twice in 18 years, highlighting the need for law enforcement, prosecutors and citizens to take animal cruelty crimes more seriously, Forsyth stated.

Founded in 1987, RedRover focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through a variety of programs, including emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education.

If anyone has information regarding this act of animal cruelty, please contact Yolo County Animal Services at 668-5287 or West Sacramento Police Department at (916)617-4900.

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