A gray tabby cat found Monday in a neighborhood south of Bardmoor apparently had been set on fire, causing injuries over more than 90 percent of its body.
Although the incident is thought to be the first such case in Pinellas County in recent months, three teen-agers in Tampa were arrested last month and charged with mutilating or setting cats on fire.
"This is a disgusting thing," said Joan Platt, executive director of the Pinellas Animal Foundation, a veterinarians group. "We don't want to get this going on this side of the bay. .
. This is the first I've heard of it (in Pinellas). And we want to stop this as soon as possible."
Residents of the Seminole neighborhood found the cat Monday afternoon and took it to Dr. Alvin Dale of Lake Seminole Animal Hospital. Except its face, the cat's entire body had been burned.
"The ears are singed to the point where they're like little pieces of leather," Dale said.
He said the cat was wearing a nylon makeshift collar that had melted. The cat, which appears to be about a year old, has less than a 50 percent chance of survival, Dale said.
He said he injected the cat with antibiotics to fight off infection and gave it fluids and electrolytes to combat dehydration.
"There were no brush fires. There were no house fires in the area," said Dale, who also contacted Pinellas sheriff's deputies. "Our concern is that it's simply a malicious act by someone. If it is, we'd like to have that individual stopped."
Anyone with information about the incident should call the Animal Foundation at 347-7387.