WARNING: STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
Police are warning cat owners to be on alert following a series of deaths involving mutilation that have emerged from one Maple Ridge neighbourhood in a span of three months.
The first complaint about a cat decapitation was received in July, and though it was reported to police and the Maple Ridge SPCA, the owner was told her kitten was killed by a coyote.
Since then, however, three more cats have died – all killed around the middle of the month, all horribly mutilated.
“The SPCA never even called me back,” said Monika Soos, who lost her three-month old kitten, Mau, in July.
Missing overnight, Mau was found July 15 on Soos front lawn on Stephens Street, near 118 A Avenue, her head severed and placed neatly next to her bubble-gum pink collar.
To Soos, the decapitation looked clean like it was done with a sharp knife – there were no entrails on her lawn or blood to be found. Her suspicions were also echoed by a friend, a vet who looked at photographs of Mau’s head.
Soos called police immediately after finding Mau and officers were concerned enough to canvass the neighbourhood.
Soos took Mau’s head to the SPCA shelter and was told a vet would look at it over the weekend, but no one called her back.
“This makes me angry. They made me think it was an animal,” she said.
On Thursday, Ridge Meadows RCMP and the Maple Ridge SPCA issued an alert, warning cat owners and residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious persons or activity.
Following the kitten death in July, Mounties received two other complaints – both filed on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
The first involved the mutilation of two cats in mid-August on Meadowlark Drive, a street four blocks away from Soos’ home.
A short while later, police received another report of a cat who was found butchered on its owner’s lawn near 232nd Street and 117th Avenue.
The deaths have Mounties concerned because all the cats have been similarly disfigured. The serious crimes unit will most likely take charge of the file.
“They are not far apart,” said a RCMP spokesperson.
“One area of town has to be more vigilant and concerned than others.”
Police said a thorough investigation was conducted following the first report of mutilation in July, but at that time “it was only one incident and one cat.”
“Now we’ve got three other files involving three other cats,” the spokesperson noted.
Animal mutilations, however, are hard to investigate.
What we need is somebody who witnessed the event, said general manager of cruelty investigations for the B.C. SPCA.
“Forensics in animal investigations are not a clear situation. They are challenging cases. Of course, they are taken seriously. But the reality is, if we have no witnesses, it is very challenging to pursue a case like that.”
Researchers, as well as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have linked animal cruelty to domestic violence, child abuse and serial killing.
Convicted serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and David Berkowitz all delighted in torturing animals before moving on to human prey.
According to the American Humane Association, in a study of 57 families being treated for incidents of child abuse, 88 per cent also abused animals.
In two-thirds of the cases, it was the abusive parent who had killed or injured the animals to control a child. In one-third, the children had abused the animals, using them as scapegoats for their anger.
– with files from about.com
• Anyone with any information is asked to call RCMP at 604-463-6251. To remain anonymous call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave a tip online at www.bccrimestoppers.com. CrimeStoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.