WARNING: This story includes details that are graphic and disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
The Humane Society of Utah has raised its original $5,000 reward to $49,285 this week for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for brutally torturing a cat who died from his horrific injuries.
Sage, a 6-year-old gray and white domestic cat, belonged to Clearfield, Utah, resident China Rose. He went missing March 4 and returned home four days later, according to KTLA sister station KSTU.
Rose posted photos of Sage on Facebook with a detailed description of the signs of abuse she found when her beloved cat somehow managed to make his way back home Wednesday, KSL in Salt Lake City reported.
According to Rose, when Sage returned, he had been beaten and tortured, his whiskers cut, fur shaved and ribs snapped. He also appeared to have been also "tortured ... with hot glue," and he could no longer walk or meow.
"They broke his ribs, his little toes, beat his face, glued his eyes shut, tried to glue his penis and anus shut, burned him with hot glue and put silicone on him," the president of the Humane Society of Northern Utah, Debbie Barnes, said in a news release. "This is the worst abuse case I have ever seen."
Late Thursday afternoon, Rose posted on Facebook that Sage had died.
The Humane Society of Northern Utah had initially offered to pay for Sage's veterinary hospital expenses and noted that additional donations were welcome.
But when Sage died, the Humane Society of Utah decided to put all donations toward the reward offered for information about the person (or persons) responsible for the torture, raising the compensation to $27,500.
On Monday, that reward was upped to nearly $50,000.
The Humane Society of Utah hopes the reward will help Davis County Animal Services to obtain information that will aid them identify and charge the responsible party.
According to the Utah State Criminal Code, the intentional torture of a companion animal, including "inflicting extreme physical pain ... in an especially heinous, atrocious, cruel or exceptionally depraved manner," is a third-degree felony.
"We couldn't save Sage, but because of the love shown to Sage, we will be able to save others and hopefully, catch the perpetrators of this horror," Barnes said in a news release.
More than 150 people attended a vigil at a park, on Sunday for the Sage and. his family that was organized by the Humane Society of Northern Utah.
"People are outraged," Celeste Bailey of the HSNU told KSTU. "I think part of it is that he did survive for a while, and he was able to crawl home."
Anyone with information is urged to contact Davis County Animal Services at 801-444-2200 and tips can remain anonymous. Tips can also be sent to John Fox, Humane Society chief investigator, at 801-261-2919 ext. 210.
Donations made online at utahhumane.org/donations are tax-deductible and will be rolled over to help future animal welfare cases and deserving animals in need if not claimed.