Everybody thought he was going to make it.

But the kitty that was tortured and nailed to a utility pole in Henry County this week is gone now. Maybe it’s best for the little guy.

Three days after Andrea Bristol discovered the cat in rural Geneseo, Ill., while driving home from work, she read online that he passed away. And she cried.

Warning: Some may find the following details disturbing.

“It was about 5 (p.m.) Monday, and I was about to turn down my road when I saw something on a pole,” she said. “At first I thought it was a raccoon, climbing down the pole, and I went past it. But then I stopped, because it

didn’t look right to me.

“I backed up, and I realized it was a cat. At first I thought it was stuck on something. But then I realized a nail had been driven into one of its back feet.”

She thought the cat was dead.

“It had blood on its face and mouth, and there were places its hair was missing. I thought someone must have beaten it before it was hung there.”

Then she realized the cat was alive.

“I couldn’t get it down by myself, because I was afraid I would hurt it more.”

She called her sister, who works for a vet. Then she rushed home for blankets and something to get the cat down. She ran into a neighbor who urged her to call police right away, which she did.

In no time at all, an animal control officer and police were on the scene.

“The cat didn’t react at all to me,” she said. “He was hanging lifeless on the pole. After a few minutes, he tried to crawl, but he just collapsed. He barely made a sound, just a whimper. The animal control officer got it down really fast, put it in a carrier and took off.”

At Miller Vet Service in nearby Atkinson, the kitty was given the name Dutch, and staff did what they could to save him.

As she stood outside the rural clinic Thursday where Dutch died a few hours earlier, Micki Ogrosky cried, too.

“Another gal from the (Henry County) Humane Society of Geneseo came out last night, and he meowed when he saw her,” she said. “He meowed, went right into her arms and purred.

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“That’s one of the most amazing things. He was one of the worst cases of abuse we’ve ever seen, but he still purred.”

It makes you wonder how the little cat found it in himself to trust a human being.

“I just thought horrible, horrible things when I was out there,” Bristol, 30, said of finding Dutch. “I kept thinking it was horrible and disgusting, and someone who lives around me could do something like that.”

She was so upset, she said, she barely slept that night.

“The next day I felt anger,” she said. “I decided to tell everyone I know, hoping someone would know something, and they would find who did it. I have a dog at home, and my neighbors all have pets. I even started to worry about the children.”

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She also called to check on Dutch. For a couple of days, it looked like he would survive.

“We thought he was going to make it,” Ogrosky said, tears returning to her eyes. “It sickens me to think anyone could do something like this. We’re all very sad.

“It helps that there are so many people in the world like us — people who are appalled such a cruel and heartless thing was done. We had someone from Michigan who called to adopt him, and we’ve had donations from as far as California.”

The Henry County Humane Society is paying Dutch’s medical expenses, which they do for all stray and abandoned animals in need. They’ve been trying for years to build a shelter, but the money is always needed for the animals’ immediate care, Ogrosky said.

Dutch’s story has been circulated nationally and even internationally. People are responding with outrage and anger.

Henry County Sheriff Gib Cady was shaking his head Thursday, surprised by the response.

“Do you know I’m getting calls from media in Chicago?” he asked. “I’m an animal lover, too, but it doesn’t seem like we get this much attention when a child is beaten.”

He said the county prosecutor will have to decide what charges are filed in the event someone is arrested.

“If somebody actually has knowledge and comes forward … that’s the hope,” he said. “We’ve already invested a lot of man-hours in this. People sure do love animals.”

And don’t you forget it.

Contact Barb Ickes at (563) 383-2316 or bickes@qctimes.com.

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