Cat Set On Fire In Baltimore City

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A cat burned alive is recovering after animal rescuers say it was doused in fuel and then set on fire.

Derek Valcourt has more on the disturbing story.

It’s the kind of story that makes you cringe. It’s the city’s first animal cruelty case of the year.

Mittens the cat has a lot to meow about. She’s alive after a harrowing ordeal at the hands of a juvenile.

“She was intentionally set on fire, doused with lighter fluid, thrown in a milk crate and then a match was thrown on her,” said Mary Helfrich of Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.

There’s massive third- and fourth-degree burns on her back and side and severe trauma to her ears, but despite it all, vets expect Mittens will recover.

“She’s a little worse for the wear. Her ears will probably fall off, and she will heal. If you note, she is growing some hair back, but her medication is taking care of her. It’s long term,” Helfrich said.

Two 17-year-olds have been arrested and charged as juveniles for the attack on Mittens. Animal shelter rescuers say it happened back on Jan. 8 in the 3300-block of Saint Ambrose Avenue in West Baltimore.

“From the report it looks as though she ran out of the milk crate, down the alley, extinguished herself, and then she came back to find her kittens,” Helfrich said.

Yes, Mittens is a mama. Her three kittens were born before her serious burns. And despite her injuries, vets say she’s still taking excellent care of her family.

It’s a happier ending than the story of Phoenix–the puppy that was set on fire in West Baltimore in 2009 and died shortly after. The criminal animal abuse trial for accused brothers Travers and Tremaine Johnson resumes at the city courthouse on Monday.

Recovery for Mittens is expected to take a couple of months.

To donate to BARCS, click here.

More from Derek Valcourt
  • Missie Wakefield

    May the person(s) who did this to little Mitten face our maker sooner than later. What was this person(s) thinking? People who get a kick out of hurting other humans and defensless animals are sick beyond belief. Lock them up the rapist and murderers. See how long they last!

    • gloria sw

      This is the beginning trait of a serial killer. Keep a watchful eye on this person!!!

    • Ginger

      Blame Blame Blame, for God’s sake why don’t you people accept responsibility for your actions and stop blaming everyone under the sun. If you had real men in the neighborhood, they would put these punks in their place. Start acting as role models and real fathers with a real family unit. Get some morals, go to church, shut your mouth long enough to listen what an education has to offer. Stop believing everything in life is a joke. Your desire to father another illegitimate child that ends up just being another notch on your belt is pitiful.Children are the future. Children need strong guidance not drug addicted absent parents.What the hell did setting a poor defenseless cat on fire prove? Make them pay the cost to rehabilitate the cat and make them do mandated community service work with animals. Animals can teach a human the meaning of devotion and selfless love. Hold the parent legally responsible and make them pay instead of letting them walk away with no consequences.
      This has made me absolutely sick since I heard about it. I never thought in my life time in this country and city I would see the cruelty against man and animal kind that is being perpetrated by people that display behavior that isn’t seen in most third world countries!

      • Mittens

        Couldnt of said it better! So very True!

    • ken

      The legal system in this city will do nothing. This kid is a” VOTE” in the future. Then he/she will breed more like him/her. They he/she will murder and become a “guest” of the State for the rest of it’s life at our expense. This kid is prime example of our liberal state. this type of thing has been going on unchecked for at least the past 4 decades! When will the people of this State wake up and see what they have created and start fixing Society at the beginning. This person didn’t just fall out of space we allowed his/her creation. The system is broke and until it get fixed these type of act will continue, unchecked.

    • K Storm

      The article states a juvenile did this. I am not making excuses this is a horrible act of animal abuse. I wonder what was done in the past to this young person to make him/her act out like this. Please community pray for Mittens but also pray for this young person. I will pray that someone can help this individual.

      • Bullfrog

        Storm, More than likely there wasn’t anything done to this THUG for him to torture this helpless cat. What was Michael Vick’s excuse (he was bored) his form of entertainment was torturing dogs. He is sick too. Thank GOD someone cared enough to call for help for this poor cat. These children nowadays have no structure in their homelife, once they start school (six years old or not) the parents do their own thing and pop out another one without care or concern for the first one.

      • Shelby S.

        i like you your a nice person.Your non-violent..also all this cruel stuff goin on with these animals..people takin there anger out of animals but not the human bein that made them anger so they turn it all on the animal the “innocent one”and if that was an slow,mentally challenged person k storm we both will pray for him/her or maybe him/her did it to see it suffer.i wonder what is this world goin to be 10 years later.

      • blahblahblah

        17 is not a juvinelle, it just depends on your crime. If they had done this to a person they would be tried as adults

      • sue

        That juvenile is 17 and should go to court as an adult

      • Texacat

        I would like to help them by pouring gasoline on them and throwing a match on their ass. How about that?

  • capthg

    you should let everybody WHO this person is and where he lives

    • masscas

      I must respond to Rose White, Maaximus and all of the other bleeding heart liberals. Your pseudo intellectualism is nauseating.

      This juveniles’s behavior is wrong. It is legally wrong and legally punishable. Animal abuse is defined by law. You don’t know if this person is poor, from a single family home, etc. Children from well to do, two parfent , loving families can be vicious and cruel to animals and younger siblings. You wring your hands and make excuses for the “poor little misunderstood” perpetrator. Yet you are afraid to step up to the plate and deal with animal abuse.

      Timothy McVey’s mother said he was “a good boy”. I’m sure that the people who died in Oklahoma City felt that way just before they died in the explosion. they died.

      Wife abuse happens because the abuser is usually bigger and can get away with it. An animal has no voice and must be defended by people. Battered women, have a voice, but often are afraid or embarissed and cover it up and don’t tell anyone..

    • mcr0145

      I say life without parole for this kid, or set him on fire in the middle of the town square. Where are the parents in this situation??

      • Joyce

        I agree totally with mcr0145. Where are the parents? (Kids raising kids)

    • Debbie S

      I agree, I know I would want to know if they were near my animals OR my kids!

  • Samski

    Another serial killer in the making. This person MUST and NEEDS to be identified to the ommunity as this person is definitely a threat to the health and welfare of the community. There is NO therapy to prevent further episodes like this nor to prevent the continuous development into serial killing. Poor parenting, abusive home, and poverty do not given birth to a serial killer. These type of people are born, not made.

    • BBS

      i agree ! This is horrible !

    • i

      I think this persons action are an serious indication of far worst to follow.

  • Mike

    It just goes to show that people are no better than animals. The person that did this has mental issues and needs professional help right away. I hope Mittens recovers soon, she is a strong cat!

    • Alex

      Animals are far superior to humans. all they want to do is love and be loved.

      • uche

        stupid a&& comment Alex. That’s not what animals want to do. But, I’ll not get into the details of animal behavior.

        However, I will say that the perpetrators of this act must be identified and either incarcerated or cured.

      • susan

        I agree. People who do this to animals should have the same thing done to them and see how it feels. If they do this to animals heaven forbid what they would do to people. I hope Mittens recovers and she finds herself a terrific and furrever home and so do her kittens. I’m praying for her.

  • Jan

    I agree… a serial killer in the making and I doubt that professional help will make a difference. Where are the adults in this ” juveniles’ life? I think the appropriate response is to give him a dose of what was done to the cat.

  • barnyard

    The adults are probably raising pit bulls for fighting.

  • techie22311

    when your dog goes mad you put em down. This kid needs to be put down. Next will be people if he’s allowed to remain free amongst us

    • scott

      Let’s not waste our time and money prosecuting this punk. He’ll end up behind bars with his buddies soon enough. Let’s make sure he’s missing a few body parts when he arrives. Male rape (and hopefully an in cell bonfire) are waiting you little punk.

  • Anthony Seda

    As a owner of three cats this angers me! This person needs to be dealt with to the fullest degree of the law. What’s wrong with people in Baltimore City? There should be no mercy for this person who would purposely injured a defenseless creatures. How many more dogs, cats need to be put on fire? City Hall wake up and enforce the laws on the books, or write laws that will protect animals.

    • Alex

      What could be written on a piece of paper that would have stopped this? These people have zero respect for humans and animals alike. and even less for the rule of law. I’m not even sure the threat of sever punishment would discourage such acts.

      • igbompi


        you are correct in your observation that: “These people have zero respect for humans and animals alike. and even less for the rule of law….”

        However, I detect in your “voice” a lack of love for humans, You should know “GadDamm ” well that every child has to be conditioned to become a decent, respectable citizen. Your anger should be directed at the parents, not the children who know no difference. Don’t be deluded by the farce that children already know right from wrong when the are born, That’s so much BS, you should be ashamed that you even falled for that BS.

    • ihateanimalabusers

      This is why I’m SO disgusted with Baltimore city I just can’t wait to leave (and they wonder why people are moving out of the city!). DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS PROBLEM!!! An example is that dog Phoenix that got doused & lit on fire by those stupid twins and all they may get is just three years in prison?!! I CANNOT STAND LOWLIFE PEOPLE WHO COMMIT INHUMANE ACTS LIKE THIS & GET AWAY WITH IT which is just a reflection of more serious crimes to come instilling fear and disgust of those people who live here.

  • Knoth

    Those people show, that they are not worth called human.

    They are quite worthless, stupid and sick.

  • jan

    We don’t need people like this in our society..Put them in the electric chair and get rid of them llike they were trying to do to this poor kitty.

  • GK

    This is an outrage. The electric chair? Really?? Then my taxes go up to pay the bill. A bullet is cheaper. I’ll kick in a box. In any case the future murder deserves the same outcome he was trying to give this defenseless cat.

  • Mike

    When she recovers her owners should consider getting her spayed. Charges should fit the crime and must be enforced by the court system. Hope this is not just a slap on the hand for the offender the laws are in the books and must be applied.

  • bks

    Kill this kid. Sterilze this kid’s parents so they can not produce another sub-human.

    • Cheryl

      I agree – set the kids on fire and then kill the parents for letting their kids do something like that! Don’t waste my well earned tax money – just put gasoline on the kids and through match on them. A tit for tat! Sounds reasonable to me.

      • Elaine

        Yes I agree!! find the people who are guilty of this unbelievable crime.. reverse their actions – slowly pour lighter fluid all over them lock them in a iron cage for a few minutes, let them wonder what will happen next….then throw a match on them, not once but twice!!!!!


        are you serious..a human’s life for a dogs!! you people are more mentally ill then the KIDS who did this!!…WOW

  • Markis Maximus Johnson

    To all you folks that are against funding for baltimore city youth services this is what happens when people dont get the mental health treatment they need….. this is not criminal behavior this kid did not make any money off of this……….. this is a mentally estranged young person who needs help…… but the only thing you folks know is punishment and punishment well punishment aint the answer……… what most of you dont understand is that the living conditions at home for many of these children are worse than being in prison….. THATS WHY THEY DONT CARE ABOUT GOING TO PRISON …….. GENIUS!!!!!!!

    • GCF

      Typical liberal answer,it must be someone elses fault. The hell with prison,how about just putting a bullet in this animals head!

    • Steve

      F you… I grew up POOR. No youth programs. Just parents that taught me to have values.

      • KottaMan

        Yeah, me too. Values have nothing to do with where someone lives, economic status, or the like.

      • Danielle C.

        Well said!

      • porky

        Amen to that Steve. Many parents take on the attitude of ‘let someone else raise my kid’. .What a shame.. I wish we could go back to the days when little Johnny was slightly scared of getting a good ole fashion whipping from dad when he got home. I got cracked a few times and it was never child abuse.. but I learned my lesson and I never did it again. We need to bring back good ole fashion parenting.. but you are right. This has NOTHING to do with youth programs.. typical answer from .. never mind.. that is another issue

      • texacat

        Kudios to you! Could not have said it better myself. I grew up poor and only had a Mother who taught me values and rules. The place where I grew up or how I grew up did not make me want to set animals on fire for fun. Torch the kid!!! See how he likes it.

    • marksminimus

      Okay, and mentally estranged young people grow up to be mentally estranged adults.. Either way he will do this again.. Why isn’t punishment the answer ? Maybe you would be a little less tolerable is some low life punk did something to your family or pets or even you. Get a life. The kid and the parents need to take responsibility for this.. Of course in our world today that is a gentle slap on the wrist. Again, it sounds like almost everyone is in agreement that this kid should get a ‘real” punishment and not one instituted by the joke of a judicial system we have. What a joke your comments are Markis.. Again, not making anybody take responsibility for anything they do.. This is why our society functions like it does. Get a life

    • Nancy

      Spoken like a true LIBERAL. Put some diapers on the kid and bottle feed while you’re at it.

    • ridthem

      punishment is the answer. stop blaming everyone else for your terrible parenting. why shouold there be funding for youth services bull when the city cant even fund your fire and police departments. this isn’t what happens when people dont have b.s. treatment. this is what happens when a kids parents are absent. stop making excuses. it is not everyone else job to do yours. if someoine commits a crime punishment is the answer. lets have harsher penalties, then they will care.

    • C.A.M.

      I’m not really concerned with why it happened, the fact is it did and its disgusting. If we continue to make excuses for everyone who does something wrong we’ll be living in anarchy.

    • Cheryl

      Then kill the kids and their parents. They’ll only be more trouble down the road.

    • Shelly

      Markus Maximus Boobson: “Mentally estranged?” Do you honestly think this is a mental health issue? Is being raised with no moral values a “mental health” issue? If a person has no regard for life – whether he’s burning a cat or bustin’ a cap in sum disrespectful muvva fukkah’s heed…. is THAT a “mental health” issue? Are you foolish enough to believe this isn’t a “crime” because he made no money off of this? So his home living conditions aren’t great – and he should get a pass. There are plenty of fine people in Baltimore City and other tough urban environments that don’t burn animals – you GENIUS.

    • Pierre Gibbons

      Well then take care of your own Im f in tired of it. My tax dollars go way to much to this city. If my kids need mental health I have to take them to a doctor because i provide insurance for them so you and others dont have to take care of the children i produce. Get a grip and take care of your own. If they are not yours then you pay for thier mental health. Sick and tired of it! These arent children they are 17 year olds. I was in the Navy at 17. I dont want to even hear it. Grow the f up and be an adult or be charged as an adult. Burning inocent animals. F ing disgusting.

  • Paul

    Blame the Libs. A little capital punishment goes a long way.

    • KAREN


      • GCF

        Are you too stupid to know the difference between hunting,and lighting a cat on fire! Go hug a tree!

      • whatnow

        Karen – guessed you missed the liberal running in WV who said he would take a gun to Obama’s policies and then he shot a rifle. Politics have no place in this discussion. I hate hunting and could never do it but I do understand the herds enlarge and have to be culled. I don’t understand cats being set on fire then idiots bringining politics into it.

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  • Steve

    Just hang this low life in front of his house……
    That would send a message…

  • lester

    this kid needs to have done to him/her what he did to that cat.. how horrible.. Of course his mama will say he’s a good boy and never done nuthin like that befo

  • what

    I bet and eye for an eye would benefit the “mentally estranged young person who needs help”…Thats all the help he needs that will fix it immediatly, I bet ya.
    He dont feel compassion no HELP can make a person feel compassion, you either got it or you dont.

  • Tracey

    Yes, the 1st reponse is anger. Anger towards an cruelty of an innocent animal. Then comes confusion as to how somebody….anybody could harm an animal. Last comes fear, fear of where is this monster and could my animals, kids or loved ones come in contact with this person.
    My question is where was this kids parent(s)? I’m sure this wasn’t the 1st sign of injust abuse or even criminal activity! Most importantly where will the law take this juevinille? Slap on the wrist and get out of my face because the court system is too busy too see this is the beginning of more evil doings? Or to put it more bluntly let this person go free who has NO REMORSE for life! The parents/guardians should face the court system as well! I’m tired of hearing ” I work and/or have other children to watch and didn’t see this coming!!! Wouldn’t that be considered NEGLECT if you don’t parent your child(ren) to respect life????? This entire family parent(s) included need to do mandatory community service with battered and abused animals (supervised ofcourse) as well as therapy for a minimal of five years! Too bad if it inconveniences you or your schedule! I bet with the loss of free time and possibly the loss of income would make you think twice about what the word PARENTING means!!!!!

    • Shelly

      To quote the great Chris Rock: “If a kid calls his grandma ‘momma’ and his momma ‘Pam,’ HE’S GOING TO JAIL!!!!

  • RNinbaltimore

    Just like that dog Pheonix that got doused and set on fire by those stupid twins, the person who did this should be held accountable for their actions and get three years in prison (like those twins are going to get if convicted) or more. But you know their mama is going to say, “well my child would NEVER do a thing like that!” Welcome to stupid Baltimore where people get off on crimes like this just to repeat the offense.

  • suzie

    Someone should pour lighter fluid on the people that did this and light a match!!!

    • love of cats

      You’re not paying attention… the people who performed this cruelty act are NOT humans therefore they should not be given the liberty to be treated as one!!!
      Warning… they should always wonder if I am behind them…because I will do harm to them, they should not get off on this crime by a simple slap on the hand…..

    • laura

      They should charge admission and give the proceeds to BARCS

      • KottaMan

        I volunteer……

  • Megan

    I could not have said it better myself. It certainly would be the most cost effective punishment. I do wish death on the person who did this and I do not feel the least bit bad about stating my opinion. The people at BARCS are wonderful. I know that Mittens and her kittens will be loved and cared for in the best possible environment. What about all the others (humans and animals) that don’t get a second chance at life? This city/state/country does nothing to protect its citizens. The bad guys always get off due to a technicality and it is only a matter of time before they reoffend.

  • Nancy

    Someone who does this will most likely terrorize other humans and maybe be a genocide perpetrator. The best way to solve this is by creating an intense educational system that also teaches MORALS!!!!!

  • Rose White

    People in Baltimore care way too much about pets and not people!

    • love of cats

      who are you? you don’t know what you’re talking about…do you have or ever had a pet? pets are unconditional – sounds like you need a pet….

    • thE NOCturnal

      We can only hope that when this person becomes a full blown serial killer that they start with Rose White. Then perhaps she will understand why there is so much concern about a supposed human being doing something like this….at least for that final moment.

    • laura

      Really Rose? Who is the animal in this story? One of them is taking care of her young despite being burned alive the other one will just continue to be a bigger and bigger menace to society!!!!! What a shame they dont euthanize and sterilize people! The world would be a better place if someone had neutered that baby’s daddy!

    • william

      Do you want to take a bet on how long it will take him before he starts hurting people Rosey? This is just the start of it.. Are you gonna be there and say what a good boy he was??? probably

    • Shelly

      Rose, that was the same sentiment coming out of Atlanta after those boys put that puppy in a hot oven and burned it to death…. Even Whoopi Goldberg went on record as saying what Michael Vick did wasn’t that heinous – that it’s been part of southern “culture” for decades. As for your comment about people caring more for pets than people – there is some truth in that. Most people have the ability to know right from wrong and to fend for themselves. Domestic animals, like little human babies, are 100% dependent on people to survive. To that end, taking advantage of any person or animal that is dependent upon someone is more egregious than what happens to people who should know better in the first place! Yes, I feel sorrier for this cat than the boy that committed the crime. He’s got a brain and presumably a heart and a conscience.

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