The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the recent cruel and thoughtless torture and killing of a raccoon in Plainfield, New Jersey. This is in addition to other cash rewards currently being offered in this case.

The Case: The Plainfield Police Division and a Union County humane law enforcement officer responded to a call for service at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 4. Arriving at the scene outside 429 John Street in Plainfield, they discovered that a person or persons had deliberately doused a caged raccoon in an accelerant and set the animal on fire. The raccoon had been trapped previously by a wildlife control company on a nearby property and died as a result of the injuries.

Animal Cruelty: Violence against animals is a crime that affects entire communities. NJ Title 4 statutes contains strong language explicitly penalizing the needless killing, maiming, torturing, or other abuse of an animal. These provisions apply to virtually any animal, whether companion animals, livestock or wildlife. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well-documented by scientists, criminologists and the law enforcement and medical fields. Studies establish a clear link between animal cruelty and many other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault. Securing the serious attention and engagement of law enforcement officials, prosecutors and residents in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the whole community.

“This callous act led to the painful death of an innocent raccoon who had no means to escape or fend for himself,” said Brian R. Hackett, New Jersey state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We hope that this reward will encourage anyone with information about this terrible crime to come forward, not only to help seek justice for this animal, but also to ensure the safety of the entire community.”

The Investigators: This investigation is continuing, and anyone with information about this matter or the identity of the person or persons responsible is being urged to contact Plainfield Police Lt. Edward Hafekin at 908-753-3067 or Union County Prosecutor’s Office Sgt. Vito Colacitti at 908-527-4670.

Resources: The Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources and support to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. We offer rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty.

The Humane Society of the United States has doubled its standard cruelty reward from $2,500 to $5,000 thanks to a generous donation from a board member. For information on statistics, trends, laws and animal cruelty categories, click here.  

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