A London cat owner’s account of his search for his missing cat is just one story emerging from the ongoing serial killings of pet cats in South London that are being blamed on the so-called Croydon Cat Ripper. More than 40 cats have fallen victim to what investigators and animal advocates have described as one “sick individual” acting alone, according to the BBC. The killer may be wearing gloves and protective clothing because DNA analysis has found no evidence of foreign material beneath the claws of the murdered cats, the BBC reports. Most of the cats were killed and then beheaded.
London resident Nick Harding wrote a recent article for The Telegraph that detailed his all out search to find his missing Bengal cat, Alvin, and his fears that Alvin had become another victim of the serial cat killer. Harding, who regrets letting his cat outside the day he vanished on February 3, has posted flyers, handed out leaflets and consulted with famous pet detective Colin Butcher and Animal Search UK, a search service for owners with missing pets.
“It is a terrifying time to be a cat owner in the area,” wrote Harding. “Even dog lover [and actor] Martin Clunes has been stirred into action by the Cat Ripper crime wave, penning a letter to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe last week, describing the culprit as “the stuff of nightmares” and urging his capture.
“Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals don’t stop there – many of them move on to their fellow humans,” Clunes wrote. “That is a scary thought indeed.”
Animal welfare advocates say the cats are being killed before they are mutilated. The victims are “being displayed where people will find them,” said Boudicca Rising with South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL) center. The story has been covered by the BBC, the Daily Mail and The Telegraph. Earlier this month, actor Clunes, best known for his role of Doc Martin in the ITV series, urged Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, to step up the hunt for the perpetrator, according to the Daily Mail.
In his email to Sir Bernard, Clunes wrote: “I implore you to take every measure necessary, including re-examining all available CCTV footage, to apprehend this dangerous criminal.” He ends by telling Sir Bernard: ‘I implore you to take every measure necessary, including re-examining all available CCTV footage, to apprehend this dangerous criminal.’
PETA UK has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the serial cat killer. SNARL is actively seeking information and making posts about the victims, which include rabbits and foxes. SNARL has criticized the RSPCA, saying they have not done enough to play an active role. One veterinarian told BuzzFeed News that he believes the cats are being lured with food, then caught and strangled.