PEOPLE | PETS | COMMUNITY

Death Toll Reaches Thirteen: $46,000 Reward to Find Serial Cat Killer

A serial cat killer is on the loose in Thurston County, Washington, and the authorities need your help to find this person.

Publisher’s Note: This article discusses a disturbing animal cruelty case. Reader discretion is strongly advised.

Thurston County: Thirteen cats have been brutally killed recently, and authorities need your help to find the person responsible for their deaths.

On Thursday, August 30, a thirteenth slain cat was discovered by a homeowner near Lacey, Washington. On August 28, a mutilated cat was discovered in the 3800 block of Pacific Avenue in Olympia, bringing the death toll to twelve felines killed in the area since February. Two mutilated cats were found in Lacey on August 22. Two days before, an 11-year-old cat named Midnight was disemboweled near his Southeast Olympia home. Four days before Midnight’s death, a kitten’s head was discovered in a Lacey Park.

A map of the cat killings in Thurston County (courtesy of Thurston County Scanner, News, & Weather Blog)

To see the corresponding victims with the locations, click on the map.

Earlier in August, two cats named Harley and Ollie were slain. Harley was deaf and 20; his mutilated body was found on a neighbor’s lawn. Friendly Ollie was choked, her head smashed, and her spine surgically removed, her body placed half a mile from her home. In July, the body of two-year-old Callie was found in Decatur Woods Park; microchip identification was initially difficult because her killer removed her spine. DNA samples from two cats’ nails are currently being analyzed.

Major Crimes Detective Ben Elkins discussed this case with Pet Connection Magazine.

“This isn’t your normal perpetrator,” he said, “and based on my experience, with how he displays the cats afterward, these are planned attacks. The two primary aspects that make up a criminal are desire and opportunity. This person’s desire to commit these crimes is already there, and he’s scoping out which cats are out there.”

These escalating crimes signal not only a risk to local pets, but to humans, as well. A growing body of research indicates that those who attack nonhuman animals typically continue their abuse with humans. A study conducted by the Chicago Police Department revealed that offenders charged with crimes against animals had a “startling propensity to commit violent offenses toward human victims[1].” Of those who had been arrested for crimes against animals, 65% were also arrested for abusing a human.

Many serial killers, including Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and Dennis Rader, abused and killed animals before moving on to find human victims.

“We’re working with two criminologists, the FBI, and every lead detective in this county to create a profile,” said Animal Services Officer Erika Johnson. “This is one of our most difficult cases…to have this continuous, large-scale serial killer…it’s really disturbing.”

Please keep your cats inside or on a leash to keep them safe.

“This case is devastating – I’m a pet owner myself, and each animal is a beautiful life,” said humane officer Anna Johnson. “If you have a cat, please keep them indoors if you can.”

“Be aware and call in tips,” Erika advised. “If you’re suspicious, it never hurts to make a call.”

“If you notice something out of place, report it to your local jurisdiction,” Detective Elkins added.

If you have any information about this case, please contact Thurston County Animal Services at (360) 352-2510.

Ollie. Callie. Harley. Midnight. These cats were all beloved family members. They were brutally mutilated and killed. Their families need your help to bring their killer to justice.

Pet Connection Magazine is contributing to the reward fund to find this perpetrator and will provide updates to this story.

[1] Degenhardt, B. 2005. Statistical Summary of Offenders Charged with Crimes against Companion Animals July 2001-July 2005. Chicago Police Department report.