Nearly three months after Forest Park police were told the story about a cat being found burned in a village alley, Forest Park police are still uncertain about facts surrounding the case and whether the cat was even injured in Forest Park at all.

The story goes that on July 13, a woman found a kitten named Sprouts severely burned in a Forest Park alley. She then took the cat to the Felines & Canines Shelter in Chicago, where, after emergency treatment, the cat died on July 19 from a stroke resulting from its injuries.

Somehow, news of the cat’s story spread across the area and even to a California nonprofit animal rights organization called In Defense of Animals, which has since established a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who set the animal on fire.

However, while Forest Park police would like to get to the bottom of the case, Deputy Chief Michael Keating says the woman who claims she found the cat is being both unresponsive and uncooperative with police.

According to Keating, the police department is still investigating the case, but they are having trouble getting in contact with the Oak Park woman who alleged she found the cat injured in the first place.

Keating says at this point, the story of the cat being found in Forest Park is hearsay both because police have not been able to reach the woman and because the people from the shelter which cared for the cat say the facts surrounding the woman’s story changed.

According to the shelter, the woman initially said her son found the cat in an undisclosed Forest Park location. Later, the story was changed to the cat having been found in Harwood Heights and then somewhere in the city of Chicago.

After obtaining the woman’s address and contact information, Keating said the department has left voicemails on the woman’s phone, gone to her home and sent emails with no response.

While the story is tragic, Keating said, there’s not much police can do at this time because of lack of information.

“Until we speak to this lady, we really can’t do much about this,” he said.

Despite the trouble getting hold of the woman, Keating said the police department still established a formal case for the cat.

“We had the lieutenant generate our own police report just to get a number on it,” he said, “even though we don’t know if the cat was even found here.”

At this time, Keating speculates that regardless of where the cat was found because the incident happened close to the Fourth of July, it is possible the injuries were unintentional and might have been caused by fireworks in the area where the cat was walking around.

Keating, however, is confident the department will eventually find an answer.

“We will talk to this lady,” he said. “We’ve talked to her neighbors and gone to great lengths to get a hold of her.”

If anyone has information about the case, they are asked to reach out to Forest Park police at 708-366-2425 or In Defense of Animals at 415-448-0048.

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