There is a very sick minded person targeting innocent cats in the Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay areas of Florida, USA.
To date, this twisted individual has killed and mutilated a total of 25 cats!
The first reported killing was on 11 May 2009 in Cutler Bay and the latest was reported this past Tuesday, 26 May 2009 in Palmetto Bay by his owner, John Wellons. According to the police report, Wellons’ cat’s stomach had been sliced from front to rear and then skinned.
Wellons said that he saw his cat last at around 7pm on Monday night, alive. On Tuesday morning, his cat was found dead on his lawn.
Another cat that was killed over the Memorial Day Weekend was found by its owner in Palmetto Bay as well. Although the cat’s owner did not want to be identified, she did state that:
“It was of course dead and it was laying on its side and one of its eyes was out and it was skinned from like the waist down. It was horrible.”
Each poor cat that has succumbed to the killings has been left like a trophy on their owners front lawns.
Dee Chess, Founder of the Friends Forever Animal Rescue in Palmetto Bay, says: “This man is getting bolder and bolder. The cat that was found this morning was skinned from the waist down, and that takes longer and longer. It is very frustrating and it is heart wrenching.”
So far, the Miami-Dade police have no leads as to who could be behind such atrocious murders and they are warning residents to make sure that their cats are kept indoors during the evening hours as this the time when the murders are happening.
What is worse is that modern research in the fields of criminology and psychology dictates that any individual, who can commit such an act of cruelty against a poor, defenseless cat, also has the potential to eventually kill adults and children as well.
A former executive director of the Cat Network, Cindy Hewitt, who is also the current free-roaming cat coordinator with the Humane Society, says, “Doing this to an animal is as serious as doing it to a person. Everyone is at risk – animals and their families alike.”
Hewitt and the Cat Network (305-255-3482) have offered to loan out humane cat traps to the local residents so that they can help in effort of catching and taking care of stray cats.
The Florida director of the Humane Society, Jennifer Hobgood, told the local TV station, CBS4, last week that, “Anyone capable of mutilating a cat, let alone 18 cats, is certainly capable of hurting people.”
Hobgood also announced a $2,500 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the serial cat killer.
Crime Stoppers increased the reward to $3,500 and tax-deductible donations are also being asked for to increase the reward amount.
The spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police, Detective Bobby Williams, explained that the investigators are hoping that people will come forward with information about the serial cat killings.
“However small the information might be, it might be something we can use in the investigation,” he said.
Sadly, the main problem that the police are encountering is that the cats’ owners are removing their cats’ bodies from their front lawns before they call the police.
Hewitt says, “I can appreciate the emotion behind that, but police need to examine the crime scene.”
Removing the cat from the crime scene may also result in removing evidence from the crime scene as well.
The police are asking that if your cat has become a victim, you are urged to call 305-4POLICE immediately and cover your cat with a plastic bag, instead of cloth, which can actually taint any evidence. Never move the animal’s body or place it inside a bag.
The residents of Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay are even doing their part in searching for the serial cat killer by making and distributing fliers throughout local veterinary clinics, pet stores and other businesses within both the communities.
“I’m still surprised by how many people don’t know about this,” Hewitt says.
If you have any information regarding the serial cat killer or of the killings themselves, you are asked to call the Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS, or call Miami-Dade Detective Dominick Columbro at 305-234-4237 or Miami-Dade Animal Services Investigator Fernando J. Casadevall Jr. at 305-884-1102, ext. 240.
If you would like to make a tax-deductable donation to increase the reward amount, you can make a check out to Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers and Donation-Cats should be printed in the subject line. The checks can then be mailed to 1030 NW 111 Ave., Miami, Fl., 33172.
Photo Credit: Dawnzy58