MONSON – The reward fund set up to find the person or people responsible for wounding a stray cat in Monson in November has jumped to $5,222.
The Humane Society of the United States announced Thursday that it was increasing the reward fund by $2,000.
“This horrifying act of animal cruelty is devastating,” Joanne Bourbeau, director of the society’s New England Regional Office, said Thursday in a telephone call.
“The person who committed this heinous act poses a potential threat to animals and people in the community,” she said.
Bourbeau said the money will be paid for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for shooting the bobtail cat approximately 16 times in the head.
The cat, named Buckshot by staff at Sherman’s Veterinary Service in Dover-Foxcroft where the animal was taken after its capture, survived the attack.
Douglas Villone, Monson’s animal control officer, said the cat had been shot at close range with a gun that used mushroom-shaped pellets. The cat since has been adopted by an animal rehabilitator in Orono.
Bourbeau believed the story of Buckshot was relayed to her office by the Maine Friends of Animals. She said the Humane Society of the United States has more than 7 million members, of which more than 33,000 live in Maine.
The person responsible for injuring the cat could face a civil violation of cruelty to animals, which carries a fine of up to $500, or could face a stiffer penalty of up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine if charged criminally.
“To maliciously injure an innocent animal is the act of a very disturbed person,” Bourbeau said. “We encourage anyone who may have seen this tragedy occur or who has information about this incident to come forward.”
Bourbeau said the response to the reward fund clearly shows that people take this shooting seriously.
“I think people’s tolerance level is very low to this,” she said.
Anyone with information about the shooting of Buckshot is asked to contact Villone at 997-3913 or the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department at 800-432-7372.