SARNIA, Ont. -- A southwestern Ontario humane society is asking for the public's help in identifying those responsible for what they're calling a "horrific animal cruelty" case.

Sarnia and District Humane Society manager Donna Pyette says a male cat was brought to them on Sunday with 17 pellet gun shots in his head.

Pyette says the injured cat -- that has since been named Joe -- was spotted Sunday afternoon in the Bright's Grove, a community just east of Sarnia, by a man on his way home from church.

Pyette says the cat is in stable condition and being treated with pain medications, fluids and antibiotics at a veterinary hospital.

She said they are hoping he will be strong enough by early next week to undergo surgery to remove some or all of the pellets lodged in his head.

However, she says Joe will lose one of his eyes due to irreparable damage from his injuries.

Pyette said she visited the cat at the veterinary clinic on Monday and he was "purring up a storm" despite the intravenous tube and having his head shaved.

The humane society has received "tons of donations" from across Canada, and as far away as Denver, to help with what is expected to be a $5,000 bill for Joe's care, she said.

Pyette also said the humane society has seen a rise in animal cruelty cases this year, with 38 last month compared to "20 to 25" in January 2013.

The humane society believes someone held the cat or immobilized him somehow before he was shot with the pellet gun, Pyette said.