In a quiet park in Setagaya, Tokyo, where mothers bring their children to play, the local police department has posted a sign with a rather disturbing warning: “There have been incidents of cat abuse, such as the pouring of chemicals on the animals.”
In the park vicinity, a number of injured cats have been found, with badly scalded skin. These victimized cats had been found by members of a non-profit organization, “Neko no Dairinin-tachi" (Cat Representatives). “According to the veterinarian, either boiling water, hot oil or some kind of sulfuric acid had been poured on the creatures,” says NPO representative Mitsuko Nakamura.
Since the first feline victim was found with an injury around its neck in February this year, a total of 16 cases have been reported in five months. Some died because of the severity of the wounds, while the majority could not be captured successfully. Out of those that were rescued, only four cats have survived.
Local police speculate that the suspect may have sprayed the chemical using a syringe or a water pistol from behind while the cat was eating.
Mothers who frequent the park with their children say that the series of attacks are disconcerting. Their worries are justified because residents in the area have either heard of or remember a similar incident from 10 years ago.
Veteran volunteers of the local humane society recall the series of cat killings in the Setagaya area, in which 13 cats died. “Shortly after 13 stray cats had been neutered and released, someone used chemicals and killed every single one of them. We reported the incidents to the police, but nothing was done about it.”
A year later, the local police station contacted the organization, investigating the possible connection between the brutal murder of a family in Setagaya in late 2000, still unsolved, and the cat abuse. Clearly, local residents fear that there is something ominous about the recent events.
Sophia University Professor Emeritus and criminal psychologist Akira Fukushima comments, “The fact that the abuse is directed solely at stray cats and not household pets points to an individual whose tendency is to victimize animals somehow identified as weaker. The possibility of such acts escalating to a random assault targeting, in particular, children and women should not be entirely dismissed.”© Japan Today