'Zombie Cat' at Center of Pet Custody Battle

Humane Society is refusing to return the cat to the owners.

ByABC News
January 31, 2015, 2:00 PM

— -- The so-called "zombie cat" that seemingly came back to life after being buried is now at the center of a custody dispute between his original owner and the Tampa Bay Humane Society, according to the Humane Society.

The cat, named Bart, made headlines after his owners reportedly found him hit by a car and buried him. Days later his owners reported the cat was found by a neighbor who returned the animal.

According to the Tampa Bay Humane Center in Tampa, Florida, the cat with nine lives had fairly severe injuries including a broken jaw, facial lacerations and a damaged eye that had to be removed.

This week the center announced they would not return to the cat to its original owners.

"Recently we have learned new information about Bart's home environment and the circumstances leading up to his burial," the center's statement read. "Therefore, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay does not intend to return Bart to the Hutson family. We are prepared to fight for the best interests of this cat."

Ellias Hutson, the cat's owner, could not immediately be reached for comment. He previously told ABC News the family was devastated when he had to bury the animal.

"We were so close, I couldn't stand to bury him," Hutson said in an earlier interview. "I put him on the shoulder of the road and went and got David. He dug a hole and covered up the cat with dirt. I witnessed him bury the cat."

The 1-year-old cat was recovering at the animal hospital and the Humane Society has started a fundraiser page for the resilient cat.