An animal rights group is offering a reward of up to $5,000 to help find whoever shot or poisoned as many as 17 cats in Burke County this month.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it put up the reward because there have been no arrests yet.
On Dec. 9, the domestic cats were found along Roger Hill Road off N.C. 18 in the Connelly Springs area. Several had been shot to death, while others were poisoned.
PETA said the sheriff’s office is investigating reports that a silver Dodge Ram truck loaded with animal carriers was seen near where the cats were found.
Of the nine cats taken to a local veterinary hospital, three were dead on arrival, one had to be put down, three were released, one was in stable condition and one was in critical condition and needed surgery.
“It’s horrifying to imagine the terror and agony that these cats surely felt when they were poisoned, strung up, shot and left for dead,” PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien said in a statement.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Burke County Sheriff’s Office at 828-438-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 828-437-3333.