Monday, November 12, 2007

Cat Killings in San Antonio

San Antonio: 'Someone is Displaying' Mutilated Cats
Colin McDonald

The mutilation and killing of felines in San Antonio has reached an unprecedented level, officials say, with 11 incidents reported over the past three weeks.

Most recently, on Wednesday morning, the remains of a cat were found at Northampton Drive and Wurzbach Road, in a manner not unlike the others that have been found in the city. Each had been cut with a "scalpel-like" instrument, veterinarian Melissa Draper said.

"Someone is displaying them," Animal Control Director Jeff Hale said of the felines, adding that the department is investigating Wednesday's killing as the latest in a string that might have been committed by the same person or group.

Wednesday's slaying was reported just hours after a San Antonio police officer watched a man toss a kitten into traffic on Interstate 35.

According to a police report, the officer watched a man "perform an underhand throw of the kitten" off the Brooklyn Avenue overpass of I-35 just after midnight. The 20-foot fall onto the middle lane of traffic killed the black and white kitten.

[More coverage - KENS video: 4 more cats found dead]

Daniel Holey, 26, was arrested and charged with the incident, and was being held Wednesday in lieu of posting a $6,000 bond on charges of animal cruelty and resisting arrest.

Holey, a senior airman stationed with the 93rd INTELLIGENCE [!] Squadron at Lackland AFB, claims the kitten jumped from his arm, the report said.

An Air Force official said no disciplinary action was immediately taken against Holey, who the official said has been in the armed forces for seven years without any incidents.

The recent cat mutilations follow the September arrest of a 19-year-old man by Universal City police. Austin George Patterson was charged with three counts of cruelty to animals after three gray tabby cats were found slashed and duct-taped to a piece of plywood in Northeast Bexar County. He since has posted a $61,000 bond and is awaiting trial.

Those cats, which included a 3-year-old male named Taylor that was registered to Patterson and two others about 2 years old, were found under a sweatshirt by a man walking along the Cibolo Creek trails, their bodies arranged in a triangle. One was disemboweled and at least two had their throats slit. All three had fishing line tied around their necks, police said.

Police said they believe all three cats were bought on, an online classified community.

Since then, cats continue to turn up dead in the San Antonio area, a fact that recently led Animal Control to add two investigators to its ranks.

Meanwhile, the Animal Defense League and the Humane Society SPCA of Bexar County and the Humane Society of the United States are offering a combined reward of $4,500 to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the recent killings. Animal Control also asks anyone who witnesses a mutilation or killing or has information about any case to call (210) 287-2778.

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