A community has been left stunned by a horror crime spree as cats keep being decapitated "with surgical precision" – with fears that a budding serial killer could be to blame.
When Sergio Rodriguez from Weston, Miami, Florida, found their cat, Bean, dead in in early June, they only recovered half of him.
Neighbours told Rodriguez this wasn't the first time a feline had been found dead and mutilated in the city, according to Miami New Times.
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Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) acknowledged that it was aware of two incidents of such a grisly nature.
The office implored residents to report any other suspicious animal deaths in the area.
Residents in the neighbourhood which borders desolate bog land are creeped out and in a panic, local reports suggest.
Some speculated the killings were the work of a budding serial killer; others suggested a troubled child or potential future school shooter was to blame, New Times reported.
Officials said that the injuries to the felines were consisent with intentional harm and not an attack from another animal.
"The cat appeared to be cut clean through the middle," local media quoted the incident report.
"The cut is not consistent with that of animal bites/attacks and appeared to be intentional. There was no blood on the cat or in the grass surrounding the cat. The back half of the cat was not present in the photograph."
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local wildlife expert Robert Ruderman, a specialist in humane wildlife conflict resolution who has responded to thousands of animal-related incidents, said he thinks an animal is to blame.
"Typically, these are done by animals that are fed regularly, which are dogs and cats," Ruderman, founder of Humane Wildlife Consulting of South Florida, said.
"So it's very possible that, in my opinion, this was done by a dog or another cat — more likely a dog that was that was loose."
There have been 23 sightings and other coyote-related incidents in Weston since January 2019, three of which involved the death of an animal, documents reveal.
But Ruderman said it is unlikely that coyote would leave half its prey behind.
"If food is incredibly scarce, then they might [kill or eat a domesticated pet] — it's certainly possible," he conceded. "It is very unlikely in a place like South Florida, where there is plenty, plenty of food for them."
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