MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) – - Butler County animal rescuers are launching a special task force in response to reports of adults and children torturing animals.
A warning to readers: some of the details may be disturbing to some.
Meg Melampy with Joseph's Legacy Rescue said that they got a call about an injured cat near Wilbraham Road and Carmody Boulevard in Middletown a few days ago.
When the cat, now named "Ellis," came into their care, Melampy said he had blood dripping from his eye, scrapes on his feet and neck, maggots on his body and a fractured jaw. A veterinarian told Melampy that Ellis' injuries were consistent with being dragged.
"It's really taken a toll on me emotionally. It really has," Melampy said. "It's the kind of stuff that keeps you up at night."
Not long after Ellis was saved, Melampy said people living in the area came forward and told her that they have witnessed adults and children being cruel to cats.
"[They've] seen a child tie up a cat on the back of a bicycle and ride the bike and drag the cat across the concrete," Melampy said. "Can't imagine that they do that knowing and thinking of the pain that cat is going through and they're okay with that. That's just not normal."
Rescuers don't know if that cat survived, but they firmly believe that's what happened to Ellis and likely many other cats. Twenty to 30 of them live throughout the neighborhood. Melampy said many of them were left behind by their owners.
In response, animal advocates are working fast and are putting together a special task force.
Melampy said that the members will be made up of volunteers and neighbors who will keep an eye on the cats, document cruelty and help educate children.
"How to treat animals the right way, how to fix the problems the right way, and then, if you see abuse, how to deal with it," Melampy said.
As for Ellis, he is starting to recover and will eventually be adopted out.
Rescuers are worried that his other feline friends could be tormented next and are alarmed knowing children are the possible culprits.
"Very scary to think that they're growing up here doing this kind of thing, and we could have bigger problems in the future," Melampy said.
Joseph's Legacy is taking donations for Ellis' care.
Melampy is asking anyone with information on the cruelty cases to contact her. Her contact information is on the rescue's website.
The first task force meeting is scheduled for next week. Those interested in joining the team are also welcome to contact Joseph's Legacy.