York regional police are investigating a potential case of animal cruelty after the heads of six dismembered cats were found in Stouffville.
The severed heads were all found within a one-kilometer area near Tenth Line and Main Street within the last two months, police said.
In a press conference, York region police spokesman Andy Pattenden said police do not believe the severed cat heads are the result of an accident. “We don’t know what the motive is behind it, but by placing something like this in a public location, it would appear as if there’s some sort of intent there.”
Mr. Pattenden said all the heads appear to have been “placed, and not dropped accidentally or pushed around by something like a motor vehicle.” He added that there was no blood at any of the sites.
“If it was consistent with an animal kill – a coyote or something of that nature, we would’ve seen other signs around it, signs of other body parts,” he said.
The first incident happened in mid-August, he said, when the severed head and two legs of a cat were found near a daycare.
The next four incidents all happened within the first week and a half of September, where the heads alone were placed near homes, roads, and outside of an elementary school.
The latest incident happened on September 13, when a woman found her pet cat’s head left on the curb outside her home.
When asked about the potential for escalation of violence, Mr. Pattenden said the investigation is of concern because there appears to be a discernible pattern. “Six incidents similar in nature: that’s what’s alarming to us,” he said. He added that police do not yet know whether it’s one person responsible for all incidents.
They are also working to determine whether the cats were feral or pets, and who the owners may have been.
In the meantime, police are asking Stouffville residents to be on the lookout for any strange activity in their neighbourhoods, and urging pet owners to keep a close eye on their animals.
Brad Dewar, a spokesperson for the Ontario SPCA, said that he’s never seen a case of animal cruelty on this scale before. The Ontario SPCA Act allows for up to two years in prison and up to $60,000 fine for anyone convicted of animal cruelty, he said.