Case Snapshot
Case ID: 14504
Classification: Mutilation/Torture
Animal: cat
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Monday, Sep 1, 2008

County: Norfolk

Disposition: Open

Suspect(s) Unknown - We need your help!

An early evening stroll by local resident Mary Sparda on a field behind Seach Primary School on Labor Day evening came to a disturbing end when she found a cat's decapitated head.

The grisly find appears to have been caused by animal cruelty and the Massachusetts Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is investigating the discovery.

"We are investigating," said Peter Gollub, an enforcement officer with the Massachusetts Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, on Sept. 3. "It was brought to our attention that somebody found a cat's head, and that it belonged to an orange tabby feline."

Massachusetts Humane Society President Joanne G. Mainiero said the cat's head appeared to have been severed from its torso at an angle that would not be done by a coyote or wild animal.

"It looks like a perfectly severed head," Mainiero said. "It was not ripped apart."

The gruesome discovery occurred near a children's play area that has been vandalized on different occasions and used as a drinking spot by some youths.

"There has been drinking incidents up there with people breaking bottles and dumping trash barrels on the field," Sparda said. "The children's play area and swing sets have been vandalized."

She said local officials have to check this behavior because there are young children who enjoy riding the swings and using the play area.

Gollub said MSPCA is not ruling out the possibility of a coyote being responsible for the cat's death.

"We are still investigating and we don't have all the answers yet," Gollub said. "We can't rule out a coyote attack. But we won't presume the cat was attacked by a coyote."

He said most wild animals like coyotes tend to completely eat their prey

"But I think until we are proven otherwise, we are concerned that a human being might have done this," Gollub said.

Mainiero said she is convinced a person abused the cat.

"If it were a stray or feral cat, a person would not be able to catch it or pick it up," she said. "A stray or feral would run away from somebody who approached it. The cat had to be somebody's pet because it would be easy to pick up."

Mainiero said cat owners should keep their pet indoors at all times to protect them.

"Take this occurrence as a red flag," she said. "Keep your cats indoors. Give them a nice window or a perch and they will be happy."

Gollub said people who have information about the dead cat or other instances of animal abuse should notify the MSPCA.

"People can make anonymous phone calls if they want to," he said. "We do appreciate getting names from callers, but we will respect anonymity as well."

The MSPCA hotline number to report alleged animal abuse is 1-800-628-5808.

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