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Reward in Tortured Utah Cat Case Climbs to Nearly $50K

The Humane Society of Utah hopes that the nearly $50,000 reward being offered in what officials are calling, “the worst abuse case they’ve ever seen,” will be incentive enough for someone to come forward with information about the person or people responsible for the torture that led to the death of a gray and white 6-year-old cat named Sage.

Sage disappeared last Saturday and returned early Wednesday morning. Sage’s owner, China Cassel couldn’t believe the condition he was in. He had been brutally tortured with hot glue. He was shaved, beaten, his bones were broken. While he was a fighter, Sage lost his battle and, sadly, passed away from his injuries on Thursday night.

Reaction to Sage’s death has provoked an outpouring of donations from around the world – and donations to increase the reward amount have begun pouring in – the amount now approaching $50,000. One unnamed donor came forward with a $10,000 contribution, according to the Humane Society of Utah.

Humane Society spokeswoman Deann Shepherd told KSL News:

“Our community is saddened and angry at the same time. They want to help and take action. I hope that it shows Sage’s family and friends that they are not alone. The world mourns with them and is coming together for justice on behalf of this little cat.”

The Humane Society of Northern Utah held a vigil for Sage on Sunday at Kiwanis Park in Clearfield. More than 150 people gathered to show their support for Sage and his family. HSNU announced they’ve created The Sage Friend Fund, which will help other abused animals and their families. It’ll be used for reward money in other cases, to cover medical bills and long term rehabilitation for animals who survive abuse, and toward memorial costs for those who don’t make it.

In the meantime, the horrifying thought is that the person responsible for Sage’s death is still out there, and someone knows something. 

In Utah, the intentional torture of a companion animal is a third-degree felony and carries a possible prison sentence of up to five years and a $5,000 fine.

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 or John Fox, Humane Society of Utah’s chief investigator, at 801-261-2929, ext. 210. Your tips can remain anonymous.

Sage the Cat | Photo courtesy of China Cassel

Sage the Cat | Photo courtesy of China Cassel



  1. Kayla

    Mar 13, 2017 at 11:32 am

    There’s this cat thats been hanging around my apt complex in ks that ive emailed and sent pictures to multiple vets and shelters and no one will help it. They all want money. Its not my cat and i dont have money to help it. It seems like nobody cares about animals anymore they want that money. Someone shaved this cat and cut part its tail off. Its tail looked infected. Havent seen it in a few days. Maybe it died.

    • Amber

      Mar 13, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Do you know how many times shelters and vets hear “It’s not my cat.” Stop using that to justify any action or lack of action. Furthermore, shelters are full to bursting and that’s probably the actual reason why they won’t accept the cat. In addition, kill shelters (aka open admission shelters) are under tremendous pressure to go no kill. No kill is not the answer. The more no kill shelters, the more animals out on the streets because they don’t euthanize to make room. And before anyone reading this starts bashing kill shelters ask yourself this: Where are we going to find homes for the 3 million animals that are euthanized in kill shelters EACH YEAR if every shelter went no kill? No kill shelters have long waiting lists because they rely on adoptions only to make room in their facilities.
      Furthermore, VET BILLS ARE FREAKING EXPENSIVE! OF COURSE THEY NEED MONEY! I work at a no kill shelter and everyone wants us to do things “out of the kindness of our hearts.” They think we can do everything for free. Well… building repairs aren’t free. Electric is not free. Veterinary bills and supplies are not free. And volunteers are not reliable and know very little when it comes to handling the tough cases so you have to pay people or the animals will not get fed or taken care of properly. And in addition to all of that, we don’t get money from the state, county, or federal government and we do the animal control in the area as well because they won’t pay for animal control or humane officers.
      FURTHERMORE, it is not a veterinarian’s responsibility to do animal control. At all. They run a business… no other business runs on free and no other business will give you their services for free. If they all did that, they would be out of business and not able to help any animal at all.
      And lets revisit the space problem to tie the money and the space problem together. No shelter will take in more animals than it can afford to keep and they only have limited kennel space. If they did overload the kennels, they would run themselves financially into the ground and not be able to help any animals for that matter. In addition, overloaded kennels is just a powderkeg of disease ready to explode because you have too many stressed (therefore immunosuppressed) animals in a crowded space just ready to catch whatever one brings in. And more disease = more vet bills = more money needed.
      Please recognize that it is not because shelter staff and vets are in it for the money that they can’t take in that cat. There is way more behind the scenes than what you have cooked up in your comment. Vets and shelter workers are not money hoarding scum. Trust me…. no shelter workers I know are in it for the money… If they are, then they are stupid and should find another career. There are plenty of other jobs that make way more money than being a shelter worker. In addition, vets normally deserve more than what they are paid. Please keep in mind that they received a doctorate to be able to do the work that they do and often make way less than other people with the same level of education.

      • Irish Pooh

        Jul 19, 2017 at 12:37 am

        You are right all of it. Best have loans to pay off just like human doctors. It is sad that people give money as a reward when if they have money to help shelters operate there would be less abuse and more space to expand. Ask yourself why are we so late in caring? Donate so this can be prevented not as an after thought!

    • m

      Mar 14, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Or maybe someone with a heart helped the poor cat.

  2. Patti J. Humble

    Mar 13, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Is there anything the public can do to help?? I live in SC but as everyone else reading this story my heart is broken for Sage and her family. I dont have money to donate or I would, but I have time and heart so if there is anything we can do to help spread the word so the person/persons responsible for this crime can be caught and prosecuted, please contact me.

  3. LuAnn Wagner

    Mar 14, 2017 at 1:48 am

    That makes me mad someone did thst.Catch the asshole that did this and do yhe same thing to them.

  4. Jc

    Mar 14, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Please please please Don’t let your mama cat have babies cause they’d be cute. Cat mothers work harder than any other species to care for their young. If you loved her as a kitten keep loving her as your special Spayed companion. Her life will be longer and she won’t be traumatized by motherhood.

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