At least 27 cats have been attacked or murdered in Croydon in the last two years, animal activists claim - with some fearing the violence could be directed at humans.


Fears of a serial cat killer stalking the borough were raised last month after a number of owners discovered the butchered bodies of their beloved pets, with some saying the killings bore the hallmarks of a machete attack.

One of the victims, an eight-year-old cat named Amber, was found beheaded in Threehalfpenny Wood the day after going missing from her home in Shirley.

Another, a four-year-old ragdoll cat, was dumped "in pieces" on the doorstep of his owner’s neighbor in Addiscombe, fitting a pattern of bodies being displayed in a way that seems designed to cause maximim distress.

Further reports of killings were made in Thornton Heath and Woodside. 

But a group of concerned residents and activists, led by the South Norwood Animal Rescue (SNARL), say the scale of killing spree is still being under-reported - claiming there have been at least 27 similar cases in the past two years.

Now more than 24,000 people from all over the world have signed a petition for detectives to step up the hunt for Croydon's suspected "cat killer".

In a letter gathering support for the petition, campaigner Patricia Silverman said: "This is not a crime that is 'just about cats'. This is a crime against people, and it is having a devastating effect on our community.

"Imagine the consequences of a young child or someone elderly coming home to find their beloved pet in such a state? This has to stop! It is a well known fact that criminals who hurt animals very often move on to humans."

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Wayne Bryant, who found his cat Amber beheaded in Threehalfpenny Wood: "I don’t understand how somebody could go around doing that to pet cats. It is sick."

In 2011, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) warned that a "history of cruelty to animals shows up on the records of violent criminals Raoul Moat and Steven Barker; child-killers Mary Bell, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables and serial murderers Ian Huntley, Fred West and Ian Brady - and the list goes on and on.

"Anyone who is capable of disregard for another living being shows a very worrying psychology that should concern us all."

The online petition, started by a Georgina B, reads: "Animal rescue activists have been critical at the lack of police action. Activists have alleged that though the police have been notified little action has been taken to find those responsible.

"Alarmingly, cat attacks have been reported in South London on previous occasions. In 2008 it was reported that four pets had been killed in separate incidents.

"The cats of South London need to be protected. Will you join me in urging the South London police to take urgent action to stop this cat killer and that any suspects that are proven guilty after the appropriate judicial processes are prosecuted to the full extent of the law?

People from as far away as Croatia, Ukraine, and South Africa have signed the online petition calling for more police action.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: "Police in Croydon are investigating three incidents related to criminal damage in the New Addington area. Two incidents have been reported between September and October 2015 whilst a third has been reported in November 2015 although it took place in October 2014.

"Officers are working in partnership with the RSPCA and liaising with the local community to establish any further lines of enquiry. Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously."

Speaking to the Croydon Guardian last month, Amber's owner Wayne Bryant said: "I don’t understand how somebody could go around doing that to pet cats. It is sick."

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