Pensacola, Florida (PNJ) -- When members of the Escambia Animal Advocates heard about Valiente,the abused young cat who was found earlier this month after being burned alive and bound with zip ties, they knew that they couldn't staysilent.
"You get that little sick feelingin your stomach," said Jan Papra, a member of the nonprofit dedicated tohelping animals in the community. "I think we just didn't want to turnour heads to it. We couldn't look away; we couldn't ignore it. It justhad to be dealt with."
Membershave come up with a $1,000 reward for anyone who can provideinformation leading to the arrest and conviction of the person orpersons responsible for abusing Valiente, and the reward could continueto grow as more people donate.
"Thisis a heinous act and somebody should be punished for that," said SharynBerg, one of the group's founders. "People need to know that they can'tget away with this kind of behavior."
Bergsaid that if nobody comes forward with information within three months,the money will be returned to the individuals or, if they choose,donated to the Humane Society.
EscambiaAnimal Advocates members are working with the Humane Society ofPensacola, where the cat was brought after it was found limping aroundnear the 7900 block of Mobile Highway on March 16.
Valientehas been in the care of the Humane Society ever since, and she is stillrecovering after suffering second-degree burns to her back, lacerationsto her side and having her feet bound with zip ties.
Aftera checkup on Tuesday, Dr. Mark Sprayberry of Olive Branch AnimalHospital on North Davis Highway said that Valiente is doing well overallbut still has at least several weeks of recovery left. Sprayberry saidthat he's hoping to perform surgery next week to help some of Valiente'sburned skin tissue heal.
"I really just wanted to do one surgery, but it looks like it's going to have to be in stages," he said.
Valiente also is expected to lose both ears, said Sarah Humlie, managing director of the Humane Society of Pensacola.
Humlie said that she filed a report with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office on Monday.
"I'mexcited that the community cares enough to try and prosecute animalabuse," Humlie said. "And I think that putting a reward out there tryingto motivate people to come forward and speak out when they see abusehappen is nothing but a good thing for our community."
Valiente is still on antibiotics and painkillers, but Humlie said she is healing well and staying strong.
"Her spirits are still really high," she said.