Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tortured Kitten Dies in Hospital; "Little Jim" and Two Other Cats Were Set Afire; Only One Is Still Alive

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tortured Kitten Dies in Hospital; "Little Jim" and Two Other Cats Were Set Afire; Only One Is Still Alive

Article excerpt

Byline: TERESA STEPZINSKI

Little Jim, an affectionate 8-month-old tabby, died Monday at the University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center where he was being treated for severe injuries from being tortured with fireworks and set ablaze near his rural South Georgia home.

The kitten had third-degree burns over 50 percent of his body Dec. 20 when he crawled home to his owner who took him to Baytree Animal Hospital in Valdosta. Veterinarian Amanda Hall provided emergency treatment, then transferred Little Jim to the veterinary medical center in Gainesville.

"We're all just heart-broken," Hall told the Times-Union.

Little Jim was in a medically induced coma to control the excruciating pain while being treated in preparation for multiple skin grafts and surgeries, said Hall, who was in daily contact with university veterinarians.

"He was such a sweet kitten. Little Jim had a big battle ahead of him, and he fought it well, but it was just too much for him," Hall said.

Little Jim died shortly before noon. Veterinarians tried to resuscitate him, said Sarah Carey, medical center spokeswoman.

"They did everything they could for him," said Carey, who noted the kitten's doctors were mourning.

Little Jim's sister, Blackie, suffered third-degree burns on her feet, belly, face and head. Hall had to amputate a portion of Blackie's ears because the burns were so severe.

Blackie is recovering under Hall's care at the animal hospital. She will undergo surgery today to clean up some of her wounds, Hall said.

"Blackie is really doing well. But I think Blackie will be in the hospital a little longer than I initially had anticipated. I want to make sure everything is going all right before I release her," Hall said.

The kittens' owner, Jim Ragan, couldn't be reached for comment. An automated telephone message stated his voice mailbox was full and couldn't accept any messages. …

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