On Monday, the Tuscaloosa police updated the progress of an animal abuse case that has drawn national attention.
Beginning last week, Tuscaloosa police say they received multiple phone calls and emails about a person abusing a cat. Police say someone recorded video of the abuse and posted it to social media. Police say the suspect also posted pictures of him appearing to choke the cat on the social media site Snap Chat.
Police assigned a supervisor, investigator and officer to attempt to locate the person and the cat. Officers visited an apartment in Tuscaloosa but were unable to make contact with anyone.
Police say they have had contact with the suspect over the phone. His mother has indicated to them that the cat was OK and was taken to a veterinarian. Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven Anderson said the suspect has asked for an attorney and he has not made a statement.
Tuscaloosa police and University of Alabama police investigators went back to the apartment on Nov. 3 and an adult female allowed them inside. Chief Anderson says none of the items in the apartment matched what was shown on the video posted by the suspect.
Police have also made a plea for the person who recorded the video to come forward and speak with them.
On Friday, Nov. 6, Anderson says officers were unsuccessful in getting warrants signed to check on the well-being of the cat, to search a phone for evidence, to check the suspect for injuries and to check another residence for any signs it was where the abuse took place.
Anderson says officers then went to Sumter County, where the suspect is from, to get those warrants signed. They were unsuccessful again because no judge was available.
But on Monday, officers were able to get a search warrant signed by a circuit court judge after contacting another circuit judge in Marengo County.
Sumter County deputies assisted Tuscaloosa investigators in the search of the suspect's home. Investigators were able to see the cat themselves and determine it was "safe and unharmed."
They took photographs and video of the cat and obtained documentation showing the cat had been to a veterinarian. The bill is itemized for a rabies vaccine, the FVRCPC vaccine and a routine exam.
The suspect's cell phone was seized and the home was searched for evidence. Police shared no other details about the search.
Anderson said one thing hindering their ability to get an arrest warrant is that investigators have not yet determined when the video was shot or where it was taken.
In an effort to help get those details, the Alabama Director of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is offering a $5,000 reward for information on where and when the video was shot.
Anderson said that the fact the suspect's mother is a law enforcement officer in west Alabama has had no bearing on the investigation. It was not immediately clear from police which agency she works for.
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