A forensic investigation has concluded that a rash of cat mutilations in the British Columbia communities of Maple Ridge and Langley was most likely caused by animal predators, not humans.
On May 28, the British Columbia SPCA issued a public warning to residents that a violently mentally disturbed person might be in the area after seven mutilated cats were found in the Vancouver suburb of Maple Ridge.
News stories amped up residents’ fear levels by describing the mutilations without leaving much to the imagination, and saying that the remains of the felines were “carefully placed” so the owners, or passersby, would spot them.
The B.C. SPCA hired a forensic veterinarian, Melinda Merck, who examined 30 mutilated animals gathered by the authorities, among which were 20 cats.
Last Friday, Dr. Merck announced her conclusion: The animals were killed by coyotes or other larger predators. She said that the difference between knife cuts and coyote bites is very difficult to discern. And, of course, as we cat caretakers know, it’s not unusual for predators to leave some pretty horrific reminders of their feasts.
I’m not sure I buy the “coyote bites and knife cuts are difficult to tell apart” thing, to be honest. But I do know that coyotes are capable of catching and killing cats — and other, even larger, creatures.
I also know that it’s increasingly common for coyotes, foxes, badgers, and even large predators like bears to be seen in urban and suburban areas, as humans continue to encroach upon their habitat.
Beyond the loss of beloved pets’ lives, the thing that makes me the saddest about this story is that when incidents like this happen, they’re often used as an excuse to have coyotes and other predators hunted out of existence. Instead of blaming the coyotes and demanding that they all be killed, why not keep your cats inside?
Source: CBC News