Humane Society challenges custody of cat buried alive

After a cat was allegedly hit by a car and buried before rising out of the grave, the Tampa Humane Society said it would not give the animal back to his original owner in light of his "home environment and the circumstances leading up to his burial.”

By Fred Lambert
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TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 1 (UPI) -- A cat who was buried before rising up from his grave will not be returned to his original owner, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay said Sunday.

The cat, named Bart, was allegedly struck by a passing vehicle last week before his owner, Ellis Hutson, buried the cat with a neighbor. Five days later, a different neighbor spotted Bart above ground, covered in open wounds and maggots.


The cat was severely dehydrated but suffered no internal injuries, and the Humane Society of Tampa Bay was able to save Bart after giving him a blood transfusion, removing his left eye and wiring his jaw shut. The organization said the cat must have clawed his way out of the dirt after regaining consciousness, hiding out before he was found days later.

Sherry Silk, executive director of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, said in a statement Sunday that Bart would not be released to his owner due to revelations about his "home environment and the circumstances leading up to his burial."

"We hope the Hutson family will do the right thing and surrender Bart to our care so that we can find an appropriate environment for him to live out his life," the statement reads.


Silk said that while she does not doubt Hutson's story, and that Bart's wounds were consistent with being hit by a car and buried, it was in Bart's interest to remain with the Humane Society until another potential owner was found, and that the group was "prepared to fight to keep the cat."

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