Note: Readers may find some details of this story severely disturbing; they certainly were to this reporter.
Once again, children have become heroes in the fight against animal abuse.
Last Friday, four boys playing at a park in Brooksville, Fla., watched in horror as a pregnant woman and her sons tortured two tiny kittens.
Authorities say the children witnessed 24-year-old Wilana Frazier hitting the kittens with a metal baseball bat. She and her sons, one 8 years old and the other 5, then kicked the tiny felines and threw one of them against a tree.
The children later took one of the kittens, put it in a swing, and continued kicking it. One of them also cut one animal’s neck with a stick.
During the torture, one witness heard Frazier say she would “kill a ho.”
Once the family finished its grisly activities, the child witnesses found one kitten dead and the other barely alive. They grabbed the surviving kitten and ran to the home of one child’s mother, who immediately called 911.
Hernando County Animal Services (HCAS) officer Linda Christian was the first on the scene. The kitten was unresponsive at first, but when she touched him, his neck stretched back and he began to have violent seizures.
“I thought I was going to lose him at that point,” Christian said. “It was very upsetting. Very emotional.”
HCAS contacted Pet Luv Nonprofit Spay & Neuter Clinic, which offered to pay all of the kitten’s medical expenses and nurse him back to health.
“All animals have a right to life, but a helpless, defenseless kitten,” said Pet Luv President Rick Silvani. He paused for a moment and then continued: “You don’t know what to say. It’s just incomprehensible.”
When Frazier was questioned by county deputies on Friday night, she denied the allegations. She said she was at the park and saw other children “messing with some cats” but she kept her two sons away from them. She denied torturing the kittens and refused to provide a sworn written statement.
Nonetheless, Frazier was arrested on two charges of cruelty to animals and two charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She was released after posting a bond of $3,500.
Authorities contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families, which indicated it would also investigate the incident.
Meanwhile, the kitten, now named Dexter, is getting round-the-clock care from Pet Luv employees. He stays at the clinic during the day and goes home with a vet tech at night.
While Dexter is doing well for now — keeping his medication down, eating from a feeding tube, and starting to walk on his own — his survival remains uncertain. The possible brain damage could yet prove fatal. Nonetheless, clinic staff say his prognosis is guardedly optimistic.
The mother of one of the boys who rescued Dexter says the children were shaken by the abuse they witnessed and worried about Dexter’s health. They were scared, but at the same time they felt bad that they couldnt save the other kitten,” she said. “My sons very happy that he and the other kids saved the cats life and Im glad that he did.
She also says there’s a strong possibility that she and her husband will adopt Dexter if he survives because her son obviously has a special attachment to the cat. He cant stop talking about saving it. And were very proud that he did.
Update: On June 22, 12 days after this horrific attack, the Life With Cats website posted an article about Dexter: he’s doing well and making a remarkable recovery.