You don't need to be a cat lover to be concerned about what is happening in the 3200 block of West Ninth Street and perhaps in other parts of Lawrence.
On Monday, Mark McCanon found the mutilated body of his 13-year-old cat in his backyard. The cat had been gutted; its hind legs and tail were lying nearby. Such cruelty to an animal is almost unimaginable, but it's only the beginning of the problem.
Abuse of animals indicates serious psychological problems that can manifest themselves in even more serious crimes. Studies cited by the American Humane Association indicate that 70 percent of animal abusers have records for other crimes and that 71 percent of pet-owning women in women's shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets. Other studies have found that many of the nation's most notorious serial killers killed and tortured animals as children.
Mark McCanon said he knows of three of his neighbors whose cats have been killed, mutilated and left in their yards. Lawrence police confirm they have been investigating several reports of animal cruelty in that area, and the problem may be more widespread. Lawrence Humane Society officials say that a typical year produces three to four animal abuse cases. There already have been 18 cases reported this year, including three cats believed to have been tortured by the same person.
This is a frightening trend in Lawrence, not only because of the threat it poses to precious pets but also because of the future it paints for one or more abusers and the community in which they live. This threat demands a community effort to protect our pets and get help for those who would harm them.
Someone out there must have at least an inkling about who is responsible for this abuse. Whoever it is needs help. Please be willing to get involved and share what you know with Lawrence police. These acts of cruelty are a tragedy for those whose pets are being killed and could be the precursor to an even greater human tragedy in the future.