NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - A Floyd County pet owner says his neighbors used his pet as bait for their dog and watched the animal die.
It happened way in April, but Steve Osborne says he's only recently been able to piece together what happened to his cat shadow, because he says the people who did it have been bragging about it.
He said there's only one word he'd use to describe how he feels: "Livid. That's the only word I can use."
As a cat lover, Osborne can't imagine someone being so cruel to the pet he found hanging around his job at the beginning of the year.
"I finally went out there and saw him and he just rolled over and wanted me to pet his belly and I picked him up and he touched my face with his paw, just a really, really sweet cat so I took him home that night."
That was in February. In April, the cat he named Shadow didn't come home one day.
"I probably printed up about 150 fliers and posted them on every street corner, and every alley, walked the alleys, drove streets, looking for him," Osborne said.
He thought his cat had run away or maybe gotten hit by a car and then his neighbor told him a chilling story about his cat's last few minutes.
"I found out from a next door neighbor who overheard these guys laughing and bragging about killing the cat," he said.
"The red-headed dude told me that the cat was picked up off of my porch, and thrown into their apartment for the dog to eat," his neighbor, Candias Money, said.
Money says the group told her they'd used the cat as bait for the pit bull that lives next door. When she heard that, she wasn't sure she believed it.
"I'm like, 'Are you serious?'" she said. "I was outraged and I was like, 'I'm telling. I'm telling,' and that's immediately what I did."
WAVE 3 went to the home of the dog's owner to ask if their dog was responsible. "I don't think it is," the woman who answered the door said.
Osborne is convinced it is, saying the dog's owner told him as much in a chance meeting on the street.
"I figured out who he was and asked him if he killed my cat and he said that he didn't but a person in the other apartment had abducted him," he said. "I then proceeded to ask him if it was his dog and he said yes it was, but they borrowed it."
He hopes enough people will come forward to help investigators charge the people responsible.
"The pet was a part of my family and also the fact that someone could do that to an animal makes me think they could also do that to a human," Osborne said. "It's really sad."
The assistant director of New Albany-Floyd County Animal Control says investigators want to talk to anyone who may know more about what happened, but especially need someone who was there and witnessed it. The reward is $2500 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
The charges could be anything from violating local animal cruelty ordinances to felony animal cruelty or animal fighting charges.