Authorities probe brutal killing of pet belonging to campaign manager for Arkansas congressional candidate

A cat belonging to the campaign manager for Arkansas Democratic congressional candidate Ken Aden was found brutally beaten with the word "liberal" scrawled on its corpse.

Jake Burris' four children discovered the dead cat Sunday on the front porch of the family's home in Russellville, Ark. The animal's head had been bashed in, and one of its eyes was hanging out of the socket, according to a press release posted on Aden's website.

The word "liberal" had been written on the mixed-breed Siamese cat's fur with a black marker.

"To kill a child's pet is just unconscionable," Aden said in the statement. "As a former combat soldier, I've seen the best of humanity and the worst of humanity. Whoever did this is definitely part of the worst of humanity."

He added, "It is one thing to engage in civil political discourse and for Republicans and Democrats to disagree with each other, which is an expected part of the political process. Taking it to this level is beyond unacceptable."

Aden said that while the campaign between him and incumbent Rep. Steve Womack had heated up in recent months, he did not believe the Womack campaign was responsible for the cat's slaying.

The Russellville Police Department is investigating, and a report was made to the FBI, according to the Aden campaign's statement.

Animal-rights activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is offering a reward of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for killing the cat.

The group said in a statement that other animals in the area could be in danger as long as the culprit is still at large.