SPRING, TX (KTRK) -- An animal rescuer looking for a lost dog cut her way through underbrush and discovered not a dog, but a cat. It's how she found him that haunts her.
Janet Zimmermann first heard the cat's cries, and knew he was in distress. He had a metal chain wrapped tight around his neck, and it was padlocked. The rest of the chain was wrapped around thick underbrush, full of thorns.
"It was no accident," Zimmermann said. "Someone did this to him. Maybe as dog or animal bait, maybe as a Halloween sacrifice. I was shocked -- stunned."
She cut through the underbrush, and picked up the animal, still with a chain around his neck.
"I went to a hardware store, and we used bolt cutters to get it off. It was wrapped so tight around his neck it was hard to do," she said.
Her next step was Spring Steubner/Champions Animal Hospital. Dr Barry Schmitt says the young tomcat was in good health, and was extremely friendly. "I can't imagine how I'd behave if I had gone through that, " he said.
Clinic tech Mimi Baker agreed. "He came up to me and rubbed against my leg. He's so affectionate, such a great cat."
He now has a name -- Forest -- for the environment in which he was destined to die, if it hadn't been for Zimmermann.
"I believe he's here for a purpose," she said. "He puts a face on animal abuse."
The story will have a happy additional chapter when Forest finds a permanent, loving home.
Anyone interested in providing him a safe place to live, indoors, can contact the animal hospital at 281-376-2505.
Cat rescued after being chained up and padlocked in the woods near Spring