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Man Set Rat On Fire, Watched It Die On Facebook Live, Prosecutors Say

By Erica Demarest | March 28, 2017 5:19am | Updated on March 29, 2017 10:58am
 George Reed, 32, is charged with animal torture.
George Reed, 32, is charged with animal torture.
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DNAinfo; Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — An Englewood man is accused of setting a rat on fire and watching it die in a 30-minute Facebook Live video.

When officers arrested 32-year-old George Reed earlier this month, he reportedly asked, "If the city can poison rats, then why do they care about burning them?"

According to an arrest report, Reed continued: "I understand if it was a cat or dog. Those are animals. This is a rodent. I didn't think it was a big deal."

Reed, who has been convicted of neglecting animal owner duties for mistreating two pit bulls, now faces a charge of felony animal torture.

According to prosecutors, Reed can be seen in a Facebook Live video that streamed for 30 minutes Feb. 7 pouring gasoline on a live rat trapped in a cage.

Reed then lights a long match and films the dying rat as it jumps around, on fire, trying to escape its cage, Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti said during a bond hearing. The rat eventually stops moving.

Reed, of the 1400 block of West 72nd Place, also has been convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, marijuana possession and retail theft.

Regarding his previous animal neglect conviction, prosecutors said police who received an anonymous tip about the pit bulls. The dogs had not had food or water, authorities said, and were left to lie in their own feces. Reed admitted to owning the dogs; he never registered them with the city.

Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan set bail at $10,000.