A live cat was found recently half-buried in concrete, and the man who rescued the kitten believes it was a message from a pro-polygamy religious group.
The incident happened recently in Colorado City, Ariz., a major center for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a Mormon sect that split off in the early 20th century in order to continue the controversial practice of plural marriage.
The kitten was discovered at the home of Isaac Wyler, a former church member, who has spoken out against the church and its controversial former leader Warren Jeffs, according to AzFamily.com.
Andrew Chatwin, who, like Wyler, is a former member of the FDLS, found the cat inside one of a metal tube used to construct cement posts, according to RightThisMinute.com.
In order to rescue the cat, Chatwin had to cut the post and dig out the footing. He took the feline to an animal sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, where it died a few days later.
Chatwin, who left the FLDS 13 years ago, believes the cruel act was done by members of his former church. He claims both the threats and the animal killings have been going on for years.
Chatwin also claims that when he reported the cruel act to Colorado City sheriffs, they didn't seem too concerned.
"[The officer] kind of chuckled and laughed a little bit and then he said that if it was up to him, he'd just throw dirt on [the cat]," Chatwin said. "And this is coming from a city marshal who's a member of the FLDS Church."
Neither the FLDS or the Colorado City Sheriffs Dept. returned phone calls from The Huffington Post.
The U.S. Justice Department recently filed a lawsuit against government officials in Colorado City, and the neighboring border town of Hildale, Utah, for alleged civil rights violations, including acting as de-facto agents for the church, denying ex-members and non-members of the FLDS Church access to everything from police services to housing and utilities, according to KSTU-TV.
At the time the lawsuit was filed, Chatwin told the station that the Colorado City government was “a theocracy.”
“They keep starving people right out of the community,” he said. “To where they can’t get employment, they can’t get decent service. I can’t even use the Hildale clinic that (is) here. I have to travel a half-hour, 45 minutes just to get a doctor’s visit.”
CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this article, Warren Jeff's name was misspelled.