PORTLAND, Tenn. (WKRN) — Police are investigating the report of a kitten that was thrown into a firepit and later died. The animal rescue group that tried to save him says they are seeing a troubling trend.

True Rescue in Mt. Juliet says every day is hard, especially when they see cruelty cases. The one their staff dealt with this week was like nothing they have experienced before.

On Monday, True Rescue was notified of a kitten who was thrown into a firepit. Someone who witnessed the horrific act called the Portland police.

Despite everyone’s best efforts, the kitten passed away Tuesday morning.

Amy Simcik with True Rescue said the number of cruelty cases in their area has seen a dramatic increase.

“Most of the time, it’s been kittens thrown out of cars, puppies tossed into ponds or water sources, but this was our first burn victim,” Simcik said. “The hardest thing we have noticed is cruelty cases such as this are on the rise. There has been a lot more dumping of the animals. We have been getting a lot more dumped on our properties. I don’t know what we can equate it to but there’s definitely been an increase.”

Simcik said the community wants justice, especially in this case.

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If you know anything, you are asked to call the Portland police at (615) 325-3434.