Cat euthanized after being found severely burned in West Baltimore

BARCS named the cat "Gem" after it was found

It's happened again -- a defenseless animal set on fire and left to die in Baltimore City.

It was found Monday night, in the back yard of a home in the 300 block of South Monroe Street in West Baltimore.

The woman who lives in the home calls herself Texas Lee. Monday night, she got a frantic knock at her door.

"I was sitting in there watching TV," she said. "Somebody knocked on my front door it was my next door neighbor here. She said your back yard was on fire."

It wasn't her entire back yard, but there was a fire. A cat, the back half of its body almost completely covered in flames, had come to rest on a fence.

Lee and her neighbor called police. Meanwhile, a few doors down, a man who goes by the name "Wedge" was wondering what he had just seen.

"I was sitting in the yard there playing with the dog, and I saw a ball of flame come through here. I thought somebody rolled a ball of fire up here or something, I didn't know," he said.

And he says he could smell burning hair. Now he believes it was that same cat -- set on fire somewhere close by, running past his home toward Texas Lee's home.

"It shocked me, it really did," Wedge said.

Animal control officers brought the cat to the BARCS shelter in South Baltimore. Debra Rahl was at the shelter when the cat arrived; she named her "Gem."

"I actually saw the cat when it came in yesterday, and the poor cat was burned pretty badly over the majority of her body," Rahl said.

Veterinarians at BARCS have been able to save dozens of abused animals -- but gem's injuries were too serious, and she was euthanized. "We just wanted to put the cat out of her pain and suffering," Rahl said.

On Tuesday, several other stray cats could be found in the trash-strewn alley behind Texas Lee's home. She says she won't be able to forget about what she saw when one of them ended up in her yard.

"I feel bad didn't sleep much last night. I was dreaming about her," she said.

Police say they have no leads. If you know anything about that case, you're asked to call Baltimore City police.

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