Mutilated body of cat found in this Japanese city, residents worried

Mutilated cat carcasses have been discovered over the past few days in Saitama City in Greater Tokyo, Japan, which has alarmed residents and prompted authorities to tighten safety protocols.

The first serious find made headlines when a woman found the severed head and claws of a brown-spotted cat on the banks of the Arakawa River in Saitama City, according to US broadcaster CNN (article beyond the paywall). A few days later, police found the rest of the body hanging from the bars of an elementary school playground.

Two more mutilated cat bodies were found, one in a field and the other on the side of a road in a small town in the city. There is no evidence that these horrific acts may have involved human victims, but a history of such incidents has put Saitama on edge.

Since the bodies were found near a school, teachers have been asked to take children home and advise them to walk in large groups. A woman in her 80s told Japan’s public broadcaster NHK she felt “scared and uncomfortable” after hearing about the cat killing and her concern went beyond animal welfare.

In recent years, a Japanese man who tortured animals including cats and posted videos online was jailed. In the late 1990s, another Japanese city, Kobe, saw the killing of children, when a 14-year-old boy with a history of animal cruelty killed a 10- and 11-year-old boy and injured three others.

A spokesperson for Saitama police told CNN they have increased patrols and are investigating the cat killings as a violation of Japan’s animal protection law. In Japan – killing or injuring animals is a crime – punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine of about 5 million yen ($36,600).

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