Friday, June 22, 2001

Cat used as bait survives
Feline found in a bag was likely used to train fighting dogs; a reward is offered to find the culprit

Contra Costa Times

By Celeste Ward
Times Staff Writer

BAYPOINT - Animal activists are offering a $3,000 reward to help find whoever apparently used a pet cat as live bait to train fighting dogs, then left the cat in the road to die.

An animal hospital veterinary technician saw a black plastic bag with a cat's head poking out Saturday in the middle of Bella Vista Avenue.

At first she thought the cat was dead, but it moved, so she took it to the Concord veterinary hospital where she works. The woman did not want her name published.

The cat, an 18-month to 3-year-old tom, had a 6-foot metal cable attached to its collar and wrapped around its body. Such cables are often used to tether animals to a post or a stake as they are used as live prey, said Leroy Moyer, director of Voices For Pets, a Walnut Creek-based group.

"Cats are a favorite for training puppies," Moyer said.

The 8-pound cat, which Moyer has named "Tom," had numerous puncture wounds thought to be from bites, and the side of his head was swollen, covered with dirt and blood. He was missing several teeth, and one pupil was dilated, suggesting a concussion, Moyer said.

"It was touch and go; he was in and out of consciousness," Moyer said. The cat needed more than $700 of medical treatment but will live, he said.

On Thursday, Moyer and a friend circulated fliers about the cat on Bella Vista Avenue. At his request, Contra Costa Sheriff's Cpl. Miguel Deluna followed him up and down the street.

"For the most part this is a friendly area, but I am just along to make sure there is no trouble," Deluna said.

"If you live on or near Bella Vista in Bay Point, this concerns you," Moyer's flier reads. "You have a very violent, sadistic, cowardly person living in your neighborhood--a person who is into dominance and power over defenseless victims."

Moyer asked that anyone with information about the cat call Voices For Pets at 925-685-5388.

[Celeste Ward covered police and public safety in East Contra Costa. Reach her at 925-779-7116 or cward@cctimes.com.]