WASHINGTON -- The race for the Arkansas' third congressional district took a gruesome turn on Sunday, when the campaign manager for Democratic challenger Ken Aden came home and found his cat slaughtered with the word "liberal" painted on the corpse.
According to a press release sent out by the Aden campaign, "The family pet, an adult, mixed-breed Siamese cat, had one side of its head bashed in to the point the cat's eyeball was barely hanging from its socket. The perpetrators scrawled 'liberal' across the cat's body and left it on the doorstep of [Jacob] Burris' house."
Burris, Aden's campaign manager, told The Huffington Post that it was his 5-year-old son who first saw the atrocity. He had taken his children out to fill the family car with gas before going to church, and the young boy was the first one out of the vehicle when they returned.
(Click here to see a photo of the mutilated cat, via Blue Arkansas. WARNING: Extremely disturbing image.)
Burris has contacted the FBI and is further pursuing the matter with local law enforcement. The police officer who originally investigated the matter, according to Burris, said he wasn't sure whether the cat's killing could be construed as a threat. He was planning to file a report and said he would note that Burris was Aden's campaign manager.
Burris, however, said he had no doubt that this incident was meant as a threat.
"Absolutely," he told The Huffington Post. "There's a pretty strong fringe here, but it's never really been personal like this," he added.
Aden, a veteran of the war in Iraq, said in a statement, "To kill a child's pet is just unconscionable. 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."
Aden made clear that he did not believe Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) or anyone involved with his campaign were involved in the incident, and Beau Walker, Womack's campaign manager, strongly condemned it.
"The thought of brutalizing any animal to make a political statement, no matter what that statement is, is beyond any standard of decency," he told The Huffington Post. "The person or people, if there was more than one, who are responsible -- they definitely need to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. There should be no tolerance in our political discussion here in this nation for this kind of behavior."
Aden is the only Democrat currently challenging Womack.