Rally against animal abuse set for tonight in Phila.

Animal lovers are invited to join the Pennsylvania SPCA and Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams (and his dog Henry) for a rally tonight - "Justice for Chloe and Hercules" - to shine the spotlight on animal abuse.

The rally comes after a string of horrific crimes against cats and dogs in the city, among them Chloe and Hercules (pictured above), two young pit bulls who were set on fire in the street and left to die.

“We ask all of Philadelphia to join us as we spread a positive message of ending animal abuse, empowering our citizens to report all types of crime and making our communities safer for animals and people,” said Jerry Buckley, chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania SPCA.

The PSPCA says it is investigating numerous leads in both cases involving dogs that had been intentionally set on fire. Chloe, a young female pitbull who was found on the 700 Block of Gray Street, died June 25 from her injuries.

Hercules, a four-month-old puppy who was found on West Cheltenham Avenue July 5, is recovering from burns over 75 percent of his body.

My colleague, Jessica Parks, writes in today's Inquirer about the difficulties in prosecuting animal abuse cases and explores the psychology of the animal abuser.

The awards in both cases have now topped $6,500, including a $500 donation from Peace for Puppies, a group founded by a Philadelphia-area 11-year-old girl that raises money to help shelters and unwanted pets.

But help also is needed for Hercules' care.

The PSPCA relinquished ownership of Hercules to the Animal Alliance of NJ, in Lambertville, which is providing Hercules with very expensive, round-the-clock medical care at Crown Veterinary Specialists in Lebanon, NJ. He remains on strong medications and has undergone several medical procedures, but has begun to eat on his own.

“Hercules is burned on over 75% of his body. With raw skin exposed like that, he is at great risk for life-threatening infection. The high caliber of veterinary care provided by Crown is his life insurance policy,” says Animal Alliance executive director Annie Trinkle.

Dr. Linda Otto of Crown says it's a tough battle for the little guy. “If you touch him, he cries, but we’re managing his pain,” she said.

The rally will be held at 7 p.m. at the PSPCA headquarters at 350 East Erie Ave.