Local News

No Charges Filed In Fort Bragg Cat Burning Incident

Posted August 9, 2002

— A Fort Bragg soldier accused of burning a cat on a grill may not face charges because of a technicality.

One month ago, Boo Boo Kitty suffered burns on nearly a third of her body.

A volunteer at the Fort Bragg Animal Clinic brought the cat to the Dogwood Animal Shelter. Veterinarian Chris Faircloth was told Boo Boo was intentionally burned on a barbecue grill by Private First Class Hezekiah Bates.

Two surgeries and four weeks of recovery later, Fort Bragg leaders still have not charged Bates with animal cruelty.

"One of the investigators came by to see [the cat] and mentioned that the problem they've been having is there's been no eyewitnesses," Faircloth said.

Cumberland County animal cruelty investigators said just because an animal is hurt does not necessarily mean the owner abused it. They said a neighbor may be to blame or the animal could have run away.

They said the key to proving animal abuse is an eyewitness.

Bates insists he did not burn the cat; however, a Fort Bragg spokesperson said military police are still looking into the case and Bates could be charged in the future.

Fort Bragg leaders have told Bates to leave his housing on the post by August 27 because of decaying animals found in his yard. They said he has also been told to move because of a child neglect charge.

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