One brave abused kitten is bringing out the best in a Colorado community. Stewie, a little cat rescued from "horrific" conditions in a recent animal cruelty investigation, has inspired residents in the town of Pueblo to donate more than $3,000 -- significantly more than the cost of Stewie's medical expenses -- to help him get the surgery he needs for a congenital esophageal condition.
In addition to having a genetic defect, Stewie was also subject to sustained abuse by his previous owner, Robert Heckmann, who has been charged with felony animal cruelty and faces up to 18 months in prison. Heckmann allegedly drowned and eventually strangled Stewie's brother, an orange tiger kitten named Loki, and videotaped the act.
According to Gretchen Pressley, a spokesperson for the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR), Stewie is active and full of life despite his illness and past abuse. "He loves everyone he meets," Pressley said. "He just can't wait to meet new people and loves to play."
HSPPR, which is collecting donations for the kitten's veterinary bills, will put excess funds toward helping other animals in need. Pressley said that once Stewie recovers from surgery, he'll still be in need of a forever home -- but, judging from the community's response so far, finding him one shouldn't be a problem.