Scotland Yard concluded that the deaths of pets in Croydon and surrounding areas were not carried out by a human and were likely the result of cats being run over and then mutilated by other wildlife.
There was no evidence that any of the cats had been killed by a human, however media reports of a ‘Croydon Cat Killer’ or an ‘M25 Cat Killer’ led to widespread public concern about cats being harmed and subsequently many more allegations were received, police said.
Officers worked with the RSPCA and local charity South Norwood Animal Rescue League (SNARL) to investigate the deaths.
In 2016, SNARL arranged 25 post-mortems on mutilated cats and the cause of death was blunt force trauma consistent with being hit by a car.
The mutilations were found to have occurred after death.
Six of the 25 cases were deemed suspicious, which police investigated.
During the investigation of those six cases, officers in Croydon collated over 400 more reports made to the Met by members of the public or animal charities of cat mutilations across London and surrounding counties.
They were recorded to provide an overview and to prevent colleagues across the Met and in other forces from spending many hours responding to individual reports and allegations, police said.
The investigation took almost three years, due to the number of reports and allegations received from the public and the need to work with specialists to scrutinise any evidence.
In three of the cases CCTV footage was obtained and showed foxes carrying bodies or body parts of cats.
The Metropolitan Police said A woman in north London described how in April 2017, after finding the mutilated body of a cat in her garden, she checked CCTV and saw a fox carrying the cat’s head into her garden.
In June 2017, a cat’s head was found in a school playground in Catford. CCTV showed a fox carrying the head into the playground.
In July 2017, a witness found the body of a cat with no head or tail next to her property. Suspecting that the cat had been placed there, she checked CCTV and saw a fox drop the cat in the position in which it was found.
Officers also took note of expert opinion, including a recent article in the New Scientist which highlights how wildlife often removes the heads and tails of dead animals.
Asked about the estimated cost of the investigation, the Metropolitan Police said No officer ever worked exclusively on the cat mutilation cases, and as such it is impossible to provide accurate figures for numbers of officers or officer hours devoted to recording, assessing and investigating reports of cat mutilations.
SNARL has described the Met’s announcement as a surprise, adding that it will take advice on how to move forward.
It said We consider that the evidence we have gathered over the last three years does indicate human involvement and there is expert opinion to back this up.
Over the last three years, we have discounted over 1500 incidents as non-human related.
News Source SkyNews