From Montgomery -- an exclusive story we broke first at noon. Authorities are left with unanswered questions in an animal cruelty investigation. They say they found a cat set on fire that's now dead -- whether it was the result of the fire is still a mystery.
Firefighters tell us they got a call saying there was a fire at this vacant home on Lott Drive near Vaughn Road. But they say when they arrived, what they found was beyond disturbing. We want to warn you the video you're about to see is graphic.
Take a look at this exclusive video. What you're seeing looks almost unidentifiable -- so graphic it we had to blur some of the video. But it's the shocking remains of what Montgomery firefighters and humane officers found: A cat left on the driveway of a vacant home, burned and left for dead.
"Engine 3 actually had to extinguish the cat being on fire," Said Lt. Herman Dudley with the Montgomery Fire Department.
Investigators say they are trying to determine why the cat was specifically left on this driveway on Lott Drive. A shocking crime Lt. Dudley with the Montgomery Fire Department and Deputy Robert Bryant, a humane officer, say they don't usually see.
"In my four years here, I have never seen a cat or an animal that has been burned whether it was alive or deceased," Said Humane Officer Deputy, Robert Bryant.
"People vandalizing property and items like that is one things, but to do something like that to an animal, there's such thing as animal rights. We don't get calls like that," Said Dudley.
Why the cat was burned and if it died as a result of being set on fire is still unknown. But humane officers tell us they have three persons of interest in this investigation, two juveniles and an adult. But they can only be charged if forensics show the cat was alive before it was set on fire. Bryant says the dead cat looked similar to this one: an adult yellow tabby cat with a long tail, straight ears and a white belly. But the cat was burned so badly, deputies can't tell if it was a male or female.
Carol Smith is an animal rescuer and hopes you recognize someone who may have this cat. She wants to find its owner.
"There is no reason for any animal to be hurt, any reason whatsoever. This cat did nothing to anybody and they chose this cat for fun to brutalize and catch on fire and there was no reason for this at all," Said Smith.
Very few answers in this animal cruelty case until forensic results come back. These persons of interest could face felony animal cruelty and arson charges.
If you do have any information...please call the Montgomery Humane Society at 409-0622.