Katie Holland is the Rotorua Daily Post deputy editor

Fears cat killer could strike again

There are fears a cat killer may be on the loose in Selwyn Heights, after four mysterious cat deaths in the past week.

Some Kea St residents have said they suspect a man living in the area has started putting cat poison outside at night. A warning was posted on the 'Paw Justice' Facebook page yesterday, which was shared more than 300 times in four hours and attracted more than 150 comments. The warning was also posted on popular Facebook page 'Rotorua Buy, Sell, Swap'.

However the man has denied the allegations, telling The Daily Post although there were a few kittens he "would like to get rid of" he had nothing to do with the cats' deaths.

Rotorua SPCA inspectorate manager Andy Grant confirmed the SPCA had received three separate complaints about alleged cat poisoning on the street.

He said the complaints were being investigated by animal welfare inspectors and he was unable to comment further until the investigation was complete.

However, if somebody was intentionally poisoning animals it would be "very serious" and could involve the police, he said.

Kea St resident and cat owner Annette Kelly said she saw the warning on Facebook on Friday night. She then spoke to neighbours, one of whom told her a man living in the street had told her last week he was going to lay poison at night to "get rid of the cats".

She said people had been waking up to dead animals outside their houses. "My in-laws who live two houses away [from the man] found a dead cat. I know of three kittens and one cat [found dead]."

Miss Kelly said she had kept her own cat Astro locked inside all weekend, with all the windows closed. "I am too scared to let her out. What if she goes and leaves the section and we find her tomorrow 50 metres from home, dead?" she said.

Miss Kelly said when she had to take Astro out, she put her on a dog lead.

Although admitting she was "not the biggest cat fan" herself, Miss Kelly said the actions of whoever was responsible were "disgusting".

"If [they] have an issue with someone's pets, at least go and knock on their door to talk about it instead of trying to kill them [pets]."

Miss Kelly said the owner of a cat found dead on the man's driveway on Saturday had banged on the man's door to confront him, but he was not home.

"If I get home today and my cat's dead I'll be doing more than banging on his door," she said.

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said whoever did this was "heartless" and didn't like animals. "[They don't] care about anyone."

When the man was asked about the allegations, he told The Daily Post he only used snail and slug pellets in his garden, which were cat friendly. He said he saw the dead cat in his driveway early Saturday on his way out. "I have no idea how it happened."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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