‘Too expensive to test predator DNA’

Dr. Melinda Merck examined the remains of 30 animals, including 20 cats.  - files
Dr. Melinda Merck examined the remains of 30 animals, including 20 cats.
— image credit: files

DNA lifted off the carcasses of cats killed in Maple Ridge and Langley will not be sent to a lab for processing.

The B.C. SPCA has learned processing the genetic information will be costly.

Although the SPCA believes coyotes were mostly responsible for the spate of cat killings, it hoped DNA analysis would solve the mystery once in for all.

But after learning that processing would break their already stretched budget, Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the B.C. SPCA, said it decided not to go ahead with it.

“We felt it would not be reasonable to incur those costs simply to determine which species was involved,” she said.

In June, the SPCA announced necropsies done on mutilated cats found in Maple Ridge and Langley revealed almost all were killed by another animal, quelling fears that a disturbed human was behind the grisly deaths.

Dr. Melinda Merck, a veterinary forensic expert, examined the remains of 30 animals – 20 cats, eight crows, one rabbit, one dog – found since May and determined all were attacked by a predator.

Merck believed coyotes were most likely responsible for the deaths and encouraged pet owners to keep cats and small dogs inside.

The SPCA, however, has yet to determine who placed cat parts in strange places.

In Maple Ridge, a cat’s head was left outside a school, another was placed on a porch and in a plastic bag. A tail was also found under a missing cat poster, while another was tacked to a fence.

The SPCA believes the animals were moved post-mortem and is working with the RCMP to find suspects.

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