UNITED KINGDOM – Forensic experts are currently re-examining the case of the “Croydon cat killer”, who is believed to have mutilated about 250 cats across the country.
The killings all began in London back in 2015 but more have been reported across the UK, including in Manchester and Birmingham.
Many cats have been dismembered, with the deaths actually described as “gruesome” by animal welfare workers.
A brand new forensic lab in Surrey is to examine some corpses for new evidence.
Initially, foxes had been thought to be responsible for these deaths, however, London charity Snarl revealed some 50 foxes had been found with identical injuries to the cats, and suggested five rabbit deaths and two swan decapitations may also be linked.
In Northampton, two cat owners discovered the dismembered bodies of their cats left in carrier bags on their doorstep.
Dr Alex Stoll, who is the lead forensic veterinary pathologist at the University of Surrey, stated: “It is becoming increasingly well-documented that animal cruelty can be used as a component part of domestic violence.
“There is a growing body of evidence to indicate that people who harm animals are more likely to abuse humans.”
His colleague Jo Millington said forensic experts would try to establish whether attacks had been carried out by a human or a scavenging animal.
“A big part of what we are doing is to be certain the animals have been subjected to human intervention,” she said.
And they also plan to look for human DNA on the remains, she added.
Dr Stoll, who is just one of the experts behind the new lab dedicated to combating crimes against animals, said the service – set up in partnership with ArroGen Veterinary Forensics – aimed to increase prosecution success rates and also to arm agencies such as the RSPCA and police with evidence.
He noted that a current lack of forensic veterinary expertise meant some cases might not be prosecuted, or prosecutions would fail.