PLAINFIELD — A total $10,000 in reward money from two organizations is being offered to find whoever trapped a raccoon and set it on fire on the Fourth of July.

Police responded to 429 John St. on a report of suspected animal cruelty. Prosecutors say some type of accelerant was poured on the raccoon that had been trapped in a cage and then set it on fire. The cage was on the street curb.

Prosecutors said that other trapped raccoons were in cages around the house. Those raccoons were not harmed. The cages had been left by a hired pest-control company last month.

The Humane Society of the United States offered $5,000 for information leading to a suspect.

“This callous act led to the painful death of an innocent raccoon who had no means to escape or fend for himself," Brian R. Hackett, New Jersey state director for the Humane Society of the United States said. "We hope that this reward will encourage anyone with information about this terrible crime to come forward, not only to help seek justice for this animal, but also to ensure the safety of the entire community."

In July, PETA also offered a $5,000 reward.

“The terror and agony that this animal must have felt when set on fire are almost unimaginable,” PETA Senior Director of Cruelty Casework Stephanie Bell said.

Investigators from the Union County Prosecutor's Office have not made an arrest in the case or identified a suspect.

Prosecutors asked anyone with information about the incident to contact Plainfield police at 908-753-3131 or the Prosecutor's Office at 908-527-4670.

Rabid raccoons and other animals have been a problem throughout New Jersey in recent weeks. Ten  raccoons with rabies were reported in Denville. Rabid raccoons also were found at Cheesequake State Park in Matawan.

A raccoon attacked two men and chased a group of kids in Maywood before animal control officers were able to capture the critter on Thursday afternoon.

Cape May County is gearing up to distribute thousands of rabies vaccine baits by hand and by helicopter later this month after a horse, skunk and bat were diagnosed with rabies.

A coyote in Union Township in Hunterdon and a cat in Blairstown were also diagnosed with rabies.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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