BALTIMORE - Mittens the cat is admittedly playing to the camera, some would argue she has every right.
She was trapped underneath a milk crate while nursing her kittens and burned by two Baltimore city teens last January; the scar along her side seemingly the only remnant of such brutal abuse.
"She basically plays, naps, eats...plays, naps, eats and she does paper towel art. [So a healthy cat?] A healthy cat yes."
Cindy Wright adopted Mittens and brought her home once she healed.
Mittens’ story was too powerful, her personality too resilient to ignore for the BARCS volunteer.
It is the very same reason why the animal literally became the poster cat in an effort to pass several animal anti-cruelty bills in Annapolis earlier this year.
"I think her case really helped sway some of our state lawmakers to get going and to pass the bills and it became a record session for passage of anti-animal cruelty bills," said Wright.
Which is why Mittens will be crowned cat of the year by the American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The change her story helped bring and the successful prosecution of one of the teens who was responsible for it is now an accomplishment of note.
"She suffered a debilitating injury but I think it shows some of the work of the commission."
Work that will also be honored by the ASPCA.
Caroline Griffin is the chair of the mayor's Anti-Animal Abuse Commission.
She will share the stage with Mittens later this month to get her own award for quitting her private law practice to lead the city's anti-animal abuse prosecution and education efforts; a comprehensive and unique commission first of its kind in any American city.
"I think it is an endorsement of Baltimore's efforts. We've really been on the cutting edge of trying to stop this crime and it seems to be working," said Griffin.
Because the commission is beginning to see an increase in animal abuse convictions and has just launched a new ad campaign with known local sports figures and their pets; huge strides to combat a troubling problem.
Visible success the ASPCA will honor this month by highlighting a tragedy and just what can come of it.
Both Griffin and Mittens the cat will be honored in New York November 17th, at the ASPCA Humane Awards Luncheon.
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