Deputies arrest teen after cat found tied up, set on fire

Noah Riley. (Provided Photo/Montgomery County Sheriff's Office)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ind. (WISH/WLFI) – The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office reports a 19-year-old has been arrested for animal cruelty after officials found a cat was tied up, covered in gasoline and set on fire.

The incident happened Wednesday night on 500 South in New Market, just south of Crawfordsville.

Ethan York found the cat near his property.

“Why would somebody hurt animals to begin with?” York said.

York and retired firefighter Steven Wright saw the cat while they were watching TV. They could see a bright flame in the cornfield across from their homes.

“We just saw this black little thing starting to move,” York said.

The cat was lucky to be alive.

The cat had been saturated in gasoline, hog tied and set on fire with an M80. York and Wright immediately called animal control.

Animal control officers wrapped the wounded cat and took her to Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County. That’s when Director Misha Anderson made a deal with her.

“If you make until morning, we’ll fight the fight with you,” Anderson told the cat. “And sure enough, her eyes were wide awake.”

The cat was then taken to the Purdue Animal Hospital.

A small mud puddle may have saved the cat’s life.

“When she caught fire, the gasoline burnt fast, but she was wet; the M80 was wet. Therefore, it slowed down the burn,” Anderson said.

“It was also muddy,” Animal Control officer Adam Sperry said. “It was probably one of the best things for the cat. It possibly could have prevented the firework from igniting.”

Even though the cat is alert, time is still of the essence.

“The next 24 hours are crucial,” Anderson said. “They said she could go downhill. But at this point, she’s doing really well.”

York is hoping she makes a full recovery. He hopes to adopt her.

“It will always remind of us of some of the things going on. There’s a lot worse things that could be happening, and there’s good outcomes,” York said.

The cat’s medical bills are totaling more than $1,000.

To help out, people can donate money to the Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County or donate on their website at

Noah Riley, 19 of Crawfordsville, was arrested for two counts of animal cruelty.

Riley told deputies he saw posts on social media, which is why he wanted to meet with authorities to resolve the issue.

During an interview, Riley admitted to deputies his involvement in the incident.

Deputies said a juvenile was also interviewed. The reports are being reviewed.

As of Friday morning, Riley was in the Montgomery County Jail and being held on a $1,000 cash bond.

If you have any information, you are asked to call Deputy Minor or Deputy Kirby at 765-362-3740.

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