16-year-old Bremerton boy confessed to setting cat on fire, torturing other animals, police say

BREMERTON, Wash. -- Police say a grainy surveillance video helped them catch a 16-year-old who is accused of torturing and setting a cat on fire.

Despite the quality of the video, police said Wednesday, multiple people identified the boy. Police say the teen confessed to setting the cat on fire late Sunday night near Bremerton High School.

"He did confess, disturbingly, to not only the incident itself but also indicated that he had abused small animals like squirrels and frogs in the past," Bremerton Police Chief Steven Strachan said.

"He also confessed to putting butane on the cat that was the accelerant that caused it to burn so hot."

"This animal was abused in a horrible way, suffered tremendous pain," Strachan said.

A man out for a walk near the intersection of 15th Street and High Avenue had spotted something on fire that appeared to be moving near the Bremerton High School tennis courts. He walked over, and found an adult yellow cat on fire.

The man immediately called 911.

When officers arrived on scene, the cat was no longer on fire but was “writhing in pain,” Bremerton Police Chief Steven Strachan said.

Officers took the cat to the Kitsap Humane Society, where veterinarians found it had extensive burns to the back, tail and head. The animal was humanely euthanized after vets determined its injuries were too severe to recover from.

The cat belonged to a 66-year-old man who lives just a block away from where his pet was found. He didn't want to talk on camera, but said he's happy that someone has been arrested.

A former FBI profiler, David Gomez, said the torturing of animals is one of the traits exhibited by future serial killers.

As the case moves forward, investigators are focusing on the positive.

"Maybe the fact that this young man was caught this early, at the age of 16, hopefully can be one good thing out of a really horrible tragic incident," Strachan said.

Prosecutors said the boy will be charged as a juvenile.