Editor's Note: This article contains graphic images and video.
The controversy surrounding Warren Jeffs, the polygamous leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) who was sentenced to life in prison last year over his relationships with underage girls, is never-ceasing. Last time The Blaze covered Jeffs, we told you about his dangerous fasting that landed the faith leader in the hospital in critical condition.
Now, nearly a year later, he's back in the news with a fresh accusation being waged against his fundamentalist followers -- that they sent a cat buried alive in concrete as a threat to a man who had abandoned the radical sect. While shocking, former followers claim that such an action is common among adherents.
This story, like many of the others surrounding Jeffs, is disturbing and -- tragic. Isaac Wyler, who was excommunicated from the radical leader's FLDS back in 2004, fears that the tiny cat that was discovered in concrete at his home serves as a threatening message -- one encouraging him to be silent.
See a February 2011 interview during which Wyler talks about his experiences in the church:
By the time the cat was found on Wyler's property, it was still alive, but was clearly in pain. According to images and video footage of the incident, the animal was buried up to its neck in concrete and placed inside of a construction tube on the Colorado City, Arizona, property.
Andrew Chatwin, a man who also left the church back in 1999, worked feverishly with Wyler to have the cat removed from the concrete. While they took down the pipe and tried to hammer away at the concrete, the end result was what they had hoped to prevent -- the cat died a few days after they brought it to a local rescue.
Chatwin claims that the cat's placement in the tube was intentional and that it is common for these sorts of warnings to be issued to the FLDS. Because Wyler is vocal and speaks out against the church, the animal abuse may be a warning, he believes, that leaders want Wyler to remain quiet.
The former church member also claims that when he brought the incident to a local law enforcement member's attention, it was brushed off. The Colorado City Sheriff, Chatwin contends, is rumored to also be a member of the FLDS.
"[The officer] kind of chuckled and laughed a little bit and then he said that if it was up to him, he'd just throw dirt on [the cat]," he explained. "And this is coming from a city marshal who's a member of the FLDS Church."
Below, watch the tragic animal rescue (warning: graphic video):
With Jeffs behind bars, he clearly wasn't the individual responsible for physically placing the cat on the property. But there's evidence that he is, indeed, still controlling the religious sect.
Last month, he purportedly told most of his followers to refrain from having sex and ordered 15 men to be the sole fathers of the rest of the children slated to be born in the future. He made this order, reports say, from prison in Palestine, Texas.
(H/T: Daily Mail)