Officials Search for Men Accused of Lighting Cat on Fire

It was during the late summer when Madelyn Rivera's adopted cat Campbell ran away from her home. Rivera, who had the cat microchipped, says she never gave up hope in finding him.

'We went from this block to the next block," Rivera said. "We asked our neighbors to help us. But nobody had seen him. So we reported him to the SPCA."

Rivera was thrilled when the SPCA told her they had found him on Sunday. But her joy quickly turned to horror when they told her what happened.

"I'm hearing, 'Hey, we found Campbell,'" Rivera said. "I'm like, 'Oh, great!' And then it was bad news."

The bad news was that Campbell was the victim of a brutal act of animal cruelty. Officials say two men set him on fire in the Olney section of the city Sunday morning.

A woman told officials she spotted the cat on fire running down 3rd Street towards Wellens Avenue around 9:25 a.m. on Sunday. The woman also claimed she spotted two men at the intersection and heard one of the men say, “I put a lot of fluid on it.”

"What would possess someone to go and light a cat on fire?" Rivera asked.

The woman described the suspects as a tall and thin black or Latino man in his early to mid-20’s wearing a red hoodie and a short, stocky black or Latino man in his early to mid-20’s wearing a grey hoodie.

Investigators say surveillance video from a nearby store captured two men walking who fit the woman’s description.

Campbell was found at Wellens Avenue. He suffered from severe burns and is being treated at the PSPCA shelter hospital.

"It appears that this cat was probably burned over 60 to 75 percent of his body," said George Bengal of the PSPCA.

Campbell will likely survive the attack but officials say it will take time for him to fully recover.

If you have any information on the identity of the suspects, please call the Pennsylvania SPCA Humane Law Enforcement team at 866-601-SPCA. A $2,000 reward is being offered for information leading to their arrest and conviction. Rivera, meanwhile, has a message for the culprits.

"I really do hope they catch you," Rivera said. "Only for the simple fact that it's not funny to do what you did to that cat. It really isn't.  Even if it's not my cat, it's an animal. It's a living being!"

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