A vet has ruled out the possibility a spate of cat deaths in south London are the result of animal attacks, saying he believes the animals were killed by a person.
The vet, who has performed postmortems on the animals who are often found decapitated or missing limbs, said he thinks the cats are being mutilated using a knife-like instrument after they are killed.
"I think they are being strangled and then taken off-site to be butchered, and then the bodies are being returned and dumped, that is why there is no blood found at the scene," the vet, speaking anonymously, told the BBC.
The Metropolitan police are examining 10 cases of cats found decapitated in and around Croydon.
Local campaigners, who say as many as 50 animals have been killed, claim the RSPCA received reports of gruesome cat deaths in the area as far back as October but failed to act despite calls for help.
Boudicca Rising and Tony Jenkins, who run the South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL) centre, have been following the mysterious cat deaths since last year.
But the local centre – which was forced to crowdfund for financial aid after being deluged with reports of dead animals – said the national branch of the RSPCA was still refusing to take their concerns seriously.
“We are still waiting for the RSPCA to decide whether in their view there is something going on all along,” Rising told BuzzFeed News.
She said: “They have denied it and denied it and denied it for so long.”
SNARL said on its Facebook page on 8 January:
Until such time as the RSPCA are willing to accept that someone is murdering cats in this area, and until such time as they give us their assurance that they are treating such calls with the seriousness they deserve, and the bodies as the evidence they are (we are more than happy to continue to collect the bodies and take them to our vet for examination if the RSPCA feel they are unable to spend money doing this), we cannot and will not be advising people to call them.
“We did meet with them once, but they never got back to us,” said Rising, adding that her organisation had emailed the RSPCA four times and made numerous phone calls. “It’s not that he [the RSPCA contact] was unhelpful, more than he was just bound up in all this bureaucracy. It is that bureaucracy that has screwed us.”
She said: "There was a lot of frustration around the way people were being treated because these things had happened and they were not being believed."
An RSPCA spokesperson said in a statement that the charity is investigating the reports, although they declined to comment on the cause of the deaths and are awaiting test results due in March.
“There is a dedicated team working closely with the police and looking into all evidence given to us to see if there is deliberate cruelty involved,” the statement to BuzzFeed News said.
Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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