Police in France are hunting someone who has poisoned 200 cats in the space of the last month in a village on the Mediterranean coast.
According to L’Indépendant newspaper, the poisoner has killed the animals in Saint-Pierre-la-Mer, near Narbonne, in the south of the country.
The animals – some pets and some believed to be strays – have been found either dead or dying.
The Animal Protection Society (SPA) has conducted autopsies and found lead shotgun pellets, coolant liquid and cannabis in the animals’ stomachs, suggesting the “serial poisoner” has put the products in food.
Michèle Grenier-Bolley, an SPA inspector, said: “The cats are being fed at night.” She also revealed that the same village suffered a similar spate of attacks five years ago.
The national police force is now seeking the poisoner at the request of the council, which is worried about tension over the cat-killer in their midst.
“The atmosphere has become detestable. Nobody trusts anyone,” Geneviève, a villager, told the Ouest-France newspaper.
In an unrelated case, about 250 cats in the London area have also been killed and dismembered in recent years, also leading to a police investigation.
The case first came to attention when London animal charity South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL) was alerted to a series of cat deaths in which the felines’ heads and tails had been removed.
Corpses were found in quick succession in the London suburbs of Croydon, Streatham, Mitcham Common, Sutton, Charlton, Peckham and Finchley. In subsequent deaths, paws have been removed or the cat has literally been sliced in half.