Animal welfare officers in Windsor, Ont., describe the recent torture of a cat as a "vicious" act that should not go unpunished.

"It was quite a gruesome sight," said Nancy McCabe, manager of field operations for the Windsor-Essex Humane Society, describing what officers found when they were called to a park in the west end Jan.15.

A black garbage bag, with a tiny orange, black and white cat inside, was lying in a  fenced pool area in Atkinson Park.

'No animal should ever have to suffer like this.'— Melanie Coulter, Windsor-Essex Humane Society

"The cat was stabbed numerous times," said McCabe, adding it also had four broken ribs.

"The cat was alive at the time the torture occurred. And the cat pretty much drowned in its own blood as the blood filled the chest and the lungs."

The cat was a longhaired female, three or four years old. Because it was declawed, it was also relatively defenceless, McCabe said.

Neighbour witnessed torture

A neighbour called the humane society after witnessing two young men kicking and repeatedly stabbing a garbage bag before throwing it over a fence at 4 a.m. on Jan.15, McCabe told CBC News.

The witness said the men were white, about 20 years old and dressed in jeans. One wore a black hoodie, the other a baseball cap and dark jacket.

"It's extremely important for us to reach these people before they go on to much more heinous crimes," McCabe said, noting the new Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act provides for strict punishment for animal abuse.

"It's up to a $60,000 fine, two years in jail, lifetime ban on animal ownership, which is huge," she said.

Cash reward for tips

The Windsor-Essex Humane Society is offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest, in addition to the Crime Stoppers reward of up to $1,000, said executive director Melanie Coulter.

"This is one that has really bothered a lot of people," Coulter said. "Partially, I think it's because the cat was fixed and declawed, and that just emphasized how innocent it was and how someone had cared about it."

As of Wednesday, no one had come forward to claim the animal, but Coulter is vowing to see justice for the cat.

"No animal should ever have to suffer like this."