Serial animal killer may be on the loose in Canada, mutilating pets, wildlife

  • By Samantha Schmidt The Washington Post
  • Wednesday, December 28, 2016 1:30am
  • News

By Samantha Schmidt

The Washington Post

LONDON, ONTARIO — The discoveries were all gruesome, and eerily similar.

There was the mutilated cat found in a park, the skinned and beheaded bunny found on a university campus.

Six dead coyotes — two of them decapitated and skinned — were found deliberately placed in poses in three different locations.

A goose — stabbed and partially skinned — was dropped off at a local humane society’s front door.

Most recently, there was the beheaded dog, missing skin and organs, found last week on top of a recycling bin near a beer store, the dog’s body showing signs of puncture wounds.

Over the past year, at least 17 dead animals have been found on eight different occasions across southwestern Ontario, leading a local humane society to send a warning to pet owners: A serial animal killer may be on the loose, the Canadian Press reported.

All of the animals were found with some form of mutilation, and all were cleaned. The lack of blood at the scenes suggests they were killed elsewhere, according to Judy Foster, the London Humane Society’s executive director.

Additionally, a scalpel appears to have been used in each case, either for stabbing or skinning, and most of the animals were found in cold temperatures.

“There’s no way to measure how disturbing this is,” Foster told the Canadian Press. “An outcome like this is not one we would expect to see in our community.”

On a Friday morning in mid-September, one local resident was taking out her trash when she found 10 dead snakes arranged in the grass outside her co-op housing complex.

“It’s like the stuff of nightmares,” the woman, Kate Fowler, told CBC News. “The snakes weren’t bagged. It looks as though they were put there intentionally to get attention.”

Foster said she doesn’t know if the mutilations are the work of one person, a group or even copycats, the Canadian Press reported.

Local police said an investigator has been assigned to the case, but that they were made aware of only two incidents — two dead coyotes found near a grocery store in February and the beheaded dog last week.

“The disturbing part is you don’t know when the animals died — at the start, halfway through or as a result of what was done to it,” Foster said.

“It’s impossible to forget what we’ve seen.”

Michael Arntfield, a criminology professor at Western University in London, Ontario, is convinced that one person is responsible for all of the killings, the Canadian Press reported.

About two years ago, Arntfield said, he received a tip that someone was going to the London Humane Society claiming to be a rescuer and asking to adopt animals with the purpose of torturing them.

Since the mutilated goose was dropped off at the humane society, Arntfield is led to believe the person had been there before.

He told the London Free Press that he’s been sent photos of a group of geese with their beaks broken and placed in a semi-circle. Another person contacted him replicating a group of snakes that were killed using pieces of plastic.

The fact that the animals are often left posed — for example, the coyotes in a circle, the geese in a semi-circle — indicates “increasingly elaborate fantasies that are playing out with a wider variety of species,” he told the London Free Press.

Foster said the humane society staff is so scarred by the gruesome discoveries that counselors are coming in soon to help staff grapple with their findings.

“The longer we talk about this, the hair on my arms are standing straighter and straighter,” Foster said. “It’s chilling.”

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