Forensic veterinarian Dr. Melinda Merck has conducted necropsies on a dozen mutilated cats and the findings will be released at a news conference tomorrow.
“The BC SPCA will hold a news conference on Friday, June 15 at 10 a.m. to provide media with a significant update on the investigation into the deaths of numerous mutilated cats found in Lower Mainland communities this month,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager, community relations, BC SPCA.
The SPCA announced a week ago that it was planning to enlist the help of an American animal crime scene expert and was also considering using tracking dogs to hunt down the person or persons responsible for a series of cat mutilations in Maple Ridge, as concern grows that the perpetrator could be “warming up” to killing humans.
The slayings are particularly disturbing since history shows several examples of serial killers – such as Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and David Berkowitz – who tortured animals before moving on to people.
The necropsies can identify how the cats were killed and determine whether there’s DNA from the suspect on the animal corpses, said Chortyk.
The cats were found within a 15-block radius between 217th and 230th streets, from Lougheed Highway to Dewdney Trunk Road.
Most had their heads chopped off, or their bodies slit from throat to tail with a sharp object, she said. Then, the remains were placed where the owners or passersby could find them.
The remains of a pet from Selkirk Avenue, Buttercup, were also found in a couple different locations. According to her owner Kim Wernicke, Buttercup’s severed head was discovered on a neighbour’s front lawn and her tail was found under a nearby missing cat poster.
The incidents occurred in batches, with the first last June, followed by others in November, March, and May.
“The people who are doing this are making a point to leave the bodies where they will be found and where they will cause the most distress to people,” Chortyk said.
She acknowledged some cats may have been killed by coyotes, but in most cases, the dismemberment is “too precise to be done by an animal.”
The culprit, she said, could be someone with a mental illness, teenagers committing a prank, or someone performing a cultural ritual. It could also be a future serial killer.