An animal could be responsible for some of the recent cat mutilations in Lawrence, police said Thursday.
A Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks biologist determined a calico cat, whose partial remains were found near Eighth Street and Monterey Way on Friday evening, was killed by an animal, Sgt. Bill Cory said.
There have been at least three reports of cat mutilations in Lawrence in the last four weeks. Two of the incidents are under investigation.
Cory said Lawrence pet owners are encouraged to be aware of the cat killings in the meantime.
Some local cat owners said they've taken notice and have been keeping a closer eye on their pets and keeping them inside, especially at night.
"It's kind of scary, mainly because our outdoor cat is my daughter's," said Sarah Heironimus-Bishop of Lawrence. "I would hate for her to have to wake up one morning to find something terrible like that."
One Lawrence man believes his cat was killed by a human. Mark McCanon found his 13-year-old Manx cat laid out in his backyard on Sept. 29. He said the cat had been cut open with a knife and gutted; its tail and hind legs were left nearby.
The string of animal cruelty that police are investigating began during the last full week of September, when police received reports in the 3200 block of West Ninth Street. One of those killings is possibly the work of another animal, Cory said.
Under city code it is illegal to let a cat run at large, unless it is kept on a leash, in an enclosed area, or on your own property. Habitual violators can be jailed.
"If you really want to keep your cat safe, you keep it indoors," said Mary Prewitt, Lawrence-based Kansas director of the Humane Society of the United States. "Once you let your cat run wild or unrestrained, you're running a risk."
To prowl or not to prowl?
It's against city law to let cats run at large in Lawrence. City code says cats may only be outside, if:
¢ They're on the property of their owner or keeper.¢ They're firmly attached to a leash or chain under the physical control of their owner or keeper.¢ They're within a structure or a fence enclosure.¢ They have an operating electronic collar and are under the charge, care or control of their owner or keeper who is operating an electronic pet containment system or electronic training system for them.
Here are the amounts violators can be fined, according to city code:
¢ $30 for the first offense within a 12-month period.¢ $40 for the second offense within a 12-month period.¢ $60 for the third offense within a 12-month period.¢ $100 for the fourth and subsequent offenses within a 12-month period.
Habitual violators, those who are cited more than four times in a 24-month period, can also be fined between $100 and $500 and be sentenced to six months in jail.