Neighborhood concerned after cat set on fire - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Neighborhood concerned after cat set on fire

Romeo was set on fire and is recovering. (Source: KLTV staff) Romeo was set on fire and is recovering. (Source: KLTV staff)
WILLS POINT, TX (KLTV) -

A one-year-old East Texas cat is recovering from severe burns. Officials said the cat, Romeo, was set on fire intentionally. It happened in the Cochise Village neighborhood of Wills Point in March.

Now, the SPCA of Texas is asking for your help in finding the person or people responsible. A $2,000 reward is being offered for anyone with information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Romeo’s owners said they had been concerned for their animal’s safety before, but nothing like this had ever happened until last month. They’ve been with him every step of the way.

“From day one. I watched him be born,” William Shewmaker, Romeo’s owner, said.

And he’s here with him now, bringing him in every three days, to treat his burns. Last month, William Shewmaker was outside working when he heard his cat screaming and run inside.

“He looked like he had been scalded,” Shewmaker said. “He was still drenched in the liquid that he was burned in.”

When he picked Romeo up he realized what had been done.

“You could definitely smell gas on him because I tried to wrap him up in a towel to bring him to the vet and as soon as you wrap that towel around him you get that heavy odor of gas. So, instantly you knew what had happened,” Shewmaker described.

That’s when he took his beloved cat to the Van Zandt Animal Care Center.

“The cat was definitely in a lot of pain and I didn’t think we were going to be able to save it to begin with, but they were willing to put a lot of time and effort into it,” Dr. Scott Schroeder, Romeo’s veterinarian, said.

Dr. Schroeder said 40 percent of Romeo’s back was burned.

“I’ve never seen anybody do something like this. I’ve heard of people maliciously hurting animals, but I’ve never seen it,” Dr. Schroeder said.

Now, the SPCA is investigating, because, they said, there is a much bigger concern.

“There’s an enormous danger that a person who has the capacity of doing this to an animal is going to move on to people, and that’s really terrifying,” Maura Davies with the SPCA of Texas said. “This is absolutely a community issue.”

Shewmaker said he had heard of cats going missing in their neighborhood, but when Romeo came home that day, “it was nothing but pure fear; I mean, who would know we got a psycho living close to us? You know, anybody that’s capable of this will pull anything.”

Now, he’s asking for the community to stand by Romeo’s side, too.

“If you know who did this, make a call. Get them the help they need,” Shewmaker pleaded.

In the state of Texas, under animal cruelty laws, a person can be faced with up to a $10,000 fine and up to two years in jail.

If you have any information about who burned Romeo, you are asked to call the SPCA of Texas or Hunt County law enforcement.

A fund has been set up to help pay for Romeo’s medical costs. If you would like to donate, click here.

Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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