Earlier this week, Bart the Miracle Cat emerged from his grave after being hit by a car, and was found in a neighbor's yard. After an intense surgery, it looked like his troubles were finally over.
Now the plot thickens. The Tampa Humane Society says that Ellis Hutson, Bart's owner, is not fit to care for the animal, CNN reports.
Hutson was reportedly arrested in 1998 for cruelty to animals, although the charges were later thrown out. Sherry Silk, the Tampa Humane Society’s executive director, claims in a press release that details surrounding the cat’s "home environment and the circumstances leading up to his burial” have convinced her to keep the cat away from its original home.
“We don't have any intention of returning the cat for lots of different reasons, and I'm hoping that [Hutson will] see the light and do the right thing for Bart,” Silk said.
The Tampa Humane Society is further concerned about a GoFundMe page set up by Hutson's neighbor that has raised more than $7,000, even though the Society covered the cost of surgery with its own funds. The neighbor denies having a personal financial stake, and Hutson told Florida news channel WFLA, "Bart is our family pet. Of course I want him back."
But Silk isn't willing to hand Bart over. "I believe [Hutson] cares about the cat," Silk said in response, but "we are prepared to fight to keep the cat."
The good news? Silk notes that Bart "likes human beings and isn't skittish at all,” so at least he's doing OK for now.