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Cat buried in concrete in Colorado City

Published July 11, 2012 3:44 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Warning: This post, and the video below, contains some disturbing material. Please watch/read with care.

This video of a kitten buried alive in concrete in Colorado City might really be the saddest cat rescue of 2012. (screen shot above).

Here's the story:

It happened in Colorado City, over Memorial Day, at the home of Isaac Wyler, former member of the Warren Jeffs-led Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Wyler was cast out of the sect in 2004, but still lives in the sect's bordertown home base.

A friend/fellow critic of his, Andrew Chatwin, was at Isaac's house building a shelter for his horses. On May 31, he placed some metal pipe-like supports into wet concrete bases and left for the day about 3 p.m.

When he came back the next morning, Chatwin said he heard frantic mewing. After some investigation, he said he realized it was coming from one of the pipes. Someone had apparently walked up to the approximately 7-foot-high support and dropped a live kitten inside, where it had sunk/struggled into the wet concrete until it was buried up to the middle of its head.

Since concrete hardens quickly in the summer heat, "someone had to have been watching us work on this project the whole time. Someone had to have done it quickly right after I left," Chatwin said.

He cut the pole and got the little guy partially out of the concrete, then called the Best Friends Animal Shelter in Kanab. They worked to free the creature from the remaining concrete (and named him Thomas) but the kitten had suffered "massive injuries" and died a few days later, according to the shelter.

"We were all deeply saddened at seeing what he went through, and knowing that someone out there clearly has suffered so much in their own life to feel justified inflicting this kind of cruelty on another living being," shelter officials said in a statement.

Wyler sees it as part of an ongoing pattern of harassment that he says started when he decided to stay in the community after he was kicked out eight years ago, instead of doing what sect leaders expect and walking away from his home and life.

"Dead cats have been found in our place for years," he said. "This is the first time they've done it with a live animal."

His horses, he said, have also been targeted. He says he's made complaints and filed reports with the Colorado City/Hildale Marshal's Office over the years, but no one has ever been caught.

"How do you catch someone doing that?" Wyler said. "Unless someone comes and confesses, you're never going to know."

Chatwin calls them "hate messages."

This comes against a backdrop of continued excommunications from imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs and increasingly stifling rules for behavior, including a ban on sex — a situation more than one person has called a "social disaster."

Authorities are getting more involved with a lawsuit by the Department of Justice, and new patrols in the community by the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.

Acting chief Helaman Barlow said the marshals are investigating, and asked anyone with information to call their office at 435-874-2240.

"This is an extremely sad situation," Barlow said though city attorney Blake Hamilton.