One year ago today in Philadelphia, someone poured accelerant on a tiny cat and lit him on fire. A passerby saw the kitten, burning, on the street and smothered the flames with his coat.
The cat, now known as Justin, was about a month old at the time. Despite the offer of a $6,000 reward, his attacker has never been identified and brought to justice.
Here is one gruesome picture of Justin and his injuries.
Justin was rushed to veterinary treatment and, remarkably, survived. His long recuperation at one point required him to wear the cone, shown below, to prevent him from biting at his stitches.
Hundreds of people volunteered to adopt Justin, and a woman in New Jersey was chosen to take him. He now is a healthy 10-pound cat, seemingly normal in all ways except that he will never have ears.
We can call this a success story. People have contributed many thousands of dollars in Justin's name to animal shelters. He will be a featured attraction soon at a benefit for animal rescue. He has a Facebook page, "Justin, Fire Survivor."
But the outrages never seem to end.
Last weekend, in Paterson, NJ, police conducting a drug raid at a house found more than they expected: 21 pit bulls who were being used in a dog-fighting ring. Two men are in custody on multiple charges. Animal rights workers say the dogs will be rehabilitated and, eventually, put up for adoption.
Good people have come to the rescue, again, and good for them.
That such work is necessary reminds me of something my grandmother used to say.
"Some people are just no darn good."