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Four 'disfigured' dead cats found in park north of Toronto prompts investigation

Police north of Toronto are warning residents to keep an eye on their pets after the grisly discovery of four "disfigured" dead cats in a park. York regional police investigators have been out canvassing Belair Way Park in Vaughan, Ont.

Police north of Toronto are warning residents to keep an eye on their pets after the grisly discovery of four "disfigured" dead cats in a park.

York regional police investigators have been out canvassing Belair Way Park in Vaughan, Ont., after a dead cat was discovered there on Sunday, said Sgt. Andy Pattenden.

Locals found three dead cats in the baseball diamond of the same park on May 19, Pattenden said.

"Our investigators are looking at all of these incidents but what they're seeing that is common throughout is that each of the cats appears to have been disfigured, and that their injuries don't look to be consistent with that of a fox or a coyote," he said.

The force is looking for any witnesses or families who have had cats go missing — several families have called in already — to help the investigation.

"We need to figure out who may be responsible for this," Pattenden said.

He said investigators are also probing possible links to a 2013 case where residents found the decapitated heads of six cats over the course of a month in late summer.

That case has not been solved, he said.

"They are similar sort of circumstances here were the bodies of the dead cats that appear to have injuries and wounds associated to not being done by an animal," he said.

He said investigators are keeping an open mind into the "disturbing discovery," he said.

"It's very concerning and not just for animals because we've all heard the stories of how animal abuse can be a precursor to something more sinister later on in life," he said.

In 2016, officials were looking for a serial animal killer in London, Ont., after at least eight incidents involving 17 mutilated dead animals were found over the course of a year.

The animals were often disfigured in a way and posed, including a skinned and beheaded bunny found on the Western University campus; a mutilated cat found in a park; six dead coyotes — two of them headless and skinned — placed in poses in three different locations; and several dead snakes left in a strange pose.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2020.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

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