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UPDATE: Tortured Clearfield cat passes away

UPDATE:  Officials confirmed Sage succumbed to his injuries, Thursday afternoon, after he stopped breathing on his own.  Vets say they tried to resuscitate Sage through CPR but could not bring him back.  The animal's owners want to thank all the generous community members who have shown compassion and made donations.  The Humane Society of Utah, in partnership with Davis County Animal Services, remains committed to finding/prosecuting whoever hurt Sage.  Also, Thursday evening, an anonymous donor stepped forward, adding an additional $2,500 to the reward money The Humane Society is already offering for information leading to an arrest, making it a total of $7,500.

MILLCREEK, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - The Humane Society of Utah is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the torture of a 6-year-old gray and white domestic cat named Sage.

Sage's owner China Cassel posted photos of the cat on Facebook March 8, 2017, with a detailed description of the abuse. 

Thursday, Cassel and her husband saw their four-legged family member for the first time, since the animal intensive care unit admitted Sage.  The couple says nothing could have prepared them for that experience. 

"He just -- he looks so helpless," Cassel sobbed. 

Specialists at Advanced Veterinary Care say Sage came to them barely alive. 

"My staff was mortified.  I still, this morning, have had staff in tears.  It's really hard," said Christy Clark, a manager at the facility.

It was last Saturday that Cassel says Sage never came home. 

"It's not really normal for him... We thought, 'maybe he's just off doing his thing,'" she recalled. 

Instead, vets say the cat was suffering heartless torture.  With his eyes swollen shut and his body shutting down, Cassel says Sage somehow managed to find his way home, where the family found him lying at their door.

"We looked at his injuries more and we just saw the horrors.  We all just collapsed and started crying.  We didn't know what to do," Cassel said. 

Sage's injuries include blunt force trauma, burns and cuts all over his body, smashed paws, glue throughout his fur -- and possibly injected into his body.  Vets say if the animal stays alive, they will likely have to amputate his tail.  

Specialists say their biggest concern is Sage's unresponsiveness.  They say they can not perform surgery if his brain swelling does not go down.

"If neurologically, he doesn't correct himself or turn around, there is a point where you consider quality of life," Clark explained. 

Clark says the next 24 to 48 hours are critical for Sage.   For now, he is staying alive on IV fluids and heavy narcotics for the pain.  Sage's owners say he is a fighter.

"I think that he has a lot of love for us, and he was able to use that and his familiar senses to get home... He fought his way home," Cassel said, adding that the family refuses to give up on Sage.

The Humane Society of Utah has offered to cover the veterinary hospital expenses for Sage. If you would like to make a donation, they can be sent to Humane Society of Northern Utah (HSNU) at 801-603-1905.

Anyone with information regarding who may be responsible for the torture of Sage is urged to contact Davis County Animal Services at 801-444-2200.


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