Police are investigating reports of three cats found mutilated recently in a south Lakeland neighborhood.
Two of the cats appeared to be cut in half behind the front legs, according to a Lakeland police report.
“None of the neighbors had any idea who would want to harm their cats,” an investigating officer wrote. “They haven’t notice any unusual activity in the neighborhoods lately.”
The front half of one cat was found March 5 in the front yard of his home on the 1400 block of Newport Avenue, the report said. The owner said two other cats of his also went missing that day.
The owner and neighbors searched the area March 6 and found the back half of that cat about two blocks away, on the 1300 block of Crystal Lake Drive, the report said.
On Thursday, that cat owner told police that he learned a neighbor’s cat was also mutilated. Those remains were discovered by a woman in the front yard of a home on the 1400 block of Easton Drive, police said. She took the remains to a veterinarian to check for a microchip to determine an owner, an also how it died.
“She belived the cat was cut intentionally to be cruel,” the investigative officer wrote in the report.
The cat’s owner was determined and informed of the animal’s death. The owner lives on the 2400 block of Newport Avenue and told police he last saw his pet Wednesday morning.
The veterinarian, Dr. Tom Houghton of Cleveland Heights Animal Hospital, told police the cat was likely dismembered by a knife or sharp object, and not by another animal.
On Friday morning, a groundskeeper at a home on Brook Lane, about a half-mile away, found a cat on its side with a large circular hole in its side, Gross said. It was not the homeowner’s cat, Gross said. The wound appeared suspicious and recent, the spokesman said.
Polk County Animal Control took custody of the body and an necropsy will be performed to determine a cause of death.
Five additional police officers canvassed the surrounding area Friday, and routine patrol has been increased in the neighborhood, Gross said.
No suspects have been identified.
Anyone with information was asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477 or police at (863) 834-6900.