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30 August 2019

Cats chopped and tossed

Mutilated Cats
Cleanly sliced bloodless pieces of cat bodies are turning up in in random towns, heads, paws, tails or body halves, with no explanation of why this is happening.

The head of a black kitten was reportedly found in front of McClintock High School in Tempe. Parts of an adult cat were found in the yard of a nearby home. Similar incidents were reported a couple of miles away.

Cat body parts have been found in areas as far north as University Drive and Priest Road and in the neighborhoods near U.S. 60 and the Loop 101, according to Facebook posts from residents in the area.

In most cases, residents report finding body parts that were clean cut at the joints and no blood or guts.

Tempe police say they've received several calls about dismembered cats since May.

But who — or what — may be killing them is unclear.

Detective Greg Bacon, a Tempe police spokesman, said officers believe the cats were killed and eaten by a larger predator and that "no foul play was observed." They do not know what type of animal it may have been, he said, but it's not uncommon to see coyotes and foxes in the area.

However, Arizona Game and Fish Department officials aren't so sure.

Darren Julian, urban wildlife manager at Arizona Game and Fish, said animals typically wouldn't leave remains. It could be a domestic dog or a person, he said, but without photos or evidence the department can't say for sure what caused the deaths.

Residents report finding paws, tails in yards
According to a letter sent to Tempe residents by their homeowner's association, a dismembered black kitten was found in front of McClintock High School near McClintock and Del Rio drives.

Parts of two other kittens were found in the yards of two homes on Terrace Road, according to a copy of the letter, which was posted to Facebook.

Parts of an adult cat were found in the yard of a home near Los Feliz Drive and Southern Avenue, according to the letter.

Similar incidents were reported near Hermosa Drive and Dorsey Lane, near Priest and University drives, and in the Shalimar neighborhood.


What is killing the cats?

This is not the first time Tempe residents report finding a dismembered cat in their front yard.

Last August, half of a cat's body was found in a resident's front yard in north Tempe. There were other attacks on cats reported in the same neighborhood and a rabbit was found cut in half the year before. Some residents believed it may have been a coyote or a fox.

Julian, with Game and Fish, said it's not uncommon for coyotes or other predators such as foxes or even skunks, to snatch up small pets, but it is unusual for them to leave remains behind.

"Though (coyotes) kill a large number of small animals throughout the Valley, if you're talking about a kitten, there's probably not going to be much left of it," he said. 

It's also unusual to find body parts cleanly cut off as residents describe, he said.

"Think about if you took a bit out of a steak and pulled on it, what is it going to do? It's going to tear," he said.

Julian said the cats could have been killed by a hawk or owl or a domestic dog, but without seeing the remains it's difficult to say for sure what killed them.

Residents in the area fear the cats were killed by a person. The homeowner's association urged residents to bring their cats inside and remain vigilant for anyone "lurking in our neighborhoods, scoping out helpless animals," according to the letter.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2019/07/10/tempe-residents-report-finding-dismembered-cats/1688862001/




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