The Shoreline community is on high alert after a rescue animal was stolen and then found beaten to death at Whisker City cat rescue.

A one-year-old exotic Savannah cat named Quixote was missing from his outside cat cabin Tuesday morning when volunteers arrived. The padlock was gone, and the metal cage doors were pulled open.

Volunteer Erin Balda called Shoreline Police to report the break-in and missing cat. Hours later, when she was taking out the trash, she found Quixote inside the dumpster at the end of the driveway.

“He didn’t even look like a cat. How could you mutilate an innocent animal like that?” Balda said. “Never did I imagine coming out to the garbage dumpster and finding him in there tossed away like a piece of trash.”

The cat’s head had been crushed, according to a release from the King County Sheriff’s Office.

“Someone broke in, cornered him and beat him to death – stomped on him, beat him with that chair,” Whisker City’s founder April Brown, pointing to the broken chair leg inside the cat cabin.

Even stranger, inside the cage was a yellow blanket. Written in green was “The homeless need a home…just not my backyard, not Richmond Beach.”

Neither Brown nor investigators know what the phrase means.

“We don’t know if they're going to come back, whether it's a vendetta, if it's a one-off. We just don't know,” Brown said.

One of the worst parts, she says, was that Quixote was bound for a new home. His owner was supposed to pick him up Friday.

“I haven’t called her yet. She’s on vacation. How do you begin telling somebody?” Balda said.

Throughout the day Wednesday, community members reached out in different ways: creating a small memorial for Quixote outside his cabin with flowers and cat toys.

Others donated thousands of dollars to help the nonprofit pay to have the cat’s claws tested for human DNA. The GoFundMe campaign has already tripled their goal. The shelter's Facebook page also announced a reward provided by a private donor seeking justice.

The King County Sheriff’s Office has taken over the investigation and says it is ongoing.