THE WOMAN helping police hunt for the “psychopath” responsible for the slaughter of more than 300 cats has vowed not to give up until he is caught.
Boudicca Rising, 46, is working with a specialist team from the Met Police as they hunt the person who has been killing hundreds of pets from the Isle of Wight to Sheffield.
Operation Takahe was set up to catch the culprit behind the upsetting crimes, which first began in South London in 2015 and are still happening today.
There is currently a £10,000 reward offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of perpetrator, who has murdered and mutilated countless animals.
Many of the headless corpses have been dumped beneath the owners’ bedroom windows.
Boudicca and her partner Tony Jenkins, 53, are the founders of SNARL, South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty, and have spent the last two years travelling the UK picking up dead animals’ bodies and meeting their distraught owners.
They are desperately attempting to gather enough evidence to cage the killer – as the police believe there is just one person behind the crimes.
Speaking to The Sun Online, Boudicca said: “We aren’t stopping until we catch him. I can’t bear it. We have to catch him. We can get 10 or 20 phone calls a day.
“We are getting calls for everything at the moment. We try to rule out false alarms on the phone, for instance an animal that’s been killed in a road traffic accident, gunshots or by a predator, but we are seeing four or five cases a week.
“We’ve had pet rabbits taken out of hutches in gardens and killed. It’s rarer, but it does happen.
“It seems to be mainly cats, but foxes are being killed, too.
“As they tend to get reported to councils, we don’t hear about them until after the body has been disposed of which makes it harder to confirm them as official victims.”
Boudicca and Tony run a small South London cat rescue, and first became aware that something sinister was going on in the area after spotting people speaking about things happening to their pets on Facebook.
She said: “About two years ago we saw a post online that animals had been mutilated in the Addiscombe area and for people to be aware, and I said to Tony that we needed to find out what was going on as we rehome cats there.
“We didn’t want to be rehoming pets in an area where they’re going to get hurt.
“He rang around a couple of vets to try and get more information, and they seemed to clam up.
“Eventually one explained that they had animals brought in and they had been mutilated but they didn’t know by who or what.”
Unsettled and desperate for more information, the couple tracked down the owners of one of the mutilated cats, a pedigree Birman named Ukiyo.
Boudicca and Tony then put leaflets through the doors of houses on a three-street radius of Ukiyo’s home in Addiscombe, and were inundated with responses.
She said: “Some people said that their cat had been killed and mutilated, others explained how it had happened to their neighbours.
“People told us that they came home and found pieces of cat left on their doorstep.
“One girl’s cat had gone missing and she came home and found its tail neatly laid out waiting for her behind her gate.
“They never found the rest of the cat.”
Soon they realised that the murders weren’t only happening in Addiscombe, and were sent a photo of a cat who had been found dead with a tail and a back leg missing in neighbouring Bywood.
Boudicca and Tony, after finding 12 similar cat murders, then went to the police to ask them for help.
She said: “Not all of the cases had been reported, but they agreed that something was going on, but they needed physical evidence.”
As they didn’t deal with animal crime, Boudicca knew that when they took victims to the station nothing could be done, so it was up to them to find a forensic vet who could confirm that all the deaths were connected and by the same person.
She said: “That’s how we got involved, as no one else was doing it.
“I’ll never forget the first victim I saw with my own eyes, it was a cat on Mitcham Common.
“We never knew her name as no owners ever came forward or reported her missing, but I’ll never forget her.
“Seeing that dead, mutilated cat was like when you believe something to be true, but there’s that moment of realisation that it is real and it is happening, and that I had to pick that poor thing up.
Help catch the sick cat killer
What to do if you find a body or body parts
SNARL have agreed with the Met Police for people to call them first. This is mostly to avoid police being called out to road traffic accidents, which can be really nasty and look like a mutilation.
SNARL can talk people through a series of questions and can give appropriate advice about what to do with the deceased animal.
If they think it is a victim, they ask people to call 101 and ask local contacts to guard the body until they arrive, usually with the police.
If you see someone behaving oddly around a cat, try and get a good description and a registration number.
If you see someone actively hurting or kidnapping a cat, call 999 – and in London and Surrey that will get you a 999 response.
Outside of those areas where there have been less cases they may be slower to respond, so Boudicca and Tony advise that you them on 07961 030064 or 07957 830490.
“It was a very surreal moment.”
That was two years ago, and this weekend SNARL and its supporters were celebrating the opening of a new forensic vet surgery, ArroGen Veterinary Forensics.
Here, vet Dr Alexander Stoll looks at SNARL’s backload of almost 250 preserved victims.
Boudicca hopes that the first batch of results will be out in six to 12 weeks, with the poor animals potentially joining the other 42 cats that have already been declared as official victims.
Some of the tragic animals that are heading to the new ‘animal CSI lab’ are Harry, a gentle black and white cat who was found dead in Milton Keynes last month, and Leo, a one-year-old family pet who was found decapitated and without a tail near his home in Aylesbury.
Sadly, the victims keep coming, and Boudicca adds that dismembered cats are turning up all over the country and not only near their owners’ homes, but placed intently on public byways and in areas frequented by children.
She said: “With the positioning of the bodies, there is a real intent to hurt.
“If you hated cats and wanted to rid the world of them, you wouldn’t display them.
“It’s the display that shows he really wants to shock and hurt people.
“A lot of the bodies are left near schools, they’re left in children’s playgrounds on housing estates.
“We don’t think it’s someone with mental illness, we think it’s a psychopath.”
There have been multiple sightings of the suspected killer, with police issuing a description of a white man in his 40s with short brown hair, dressed in dark clothing, possibly with acne scarring to his face, and possibly carrying a torch or wearing a headlamp.
Boudicca said: “That description was the result of 15 to 20 different sightings of a man who was seen in Caterham and Orpington acting oddly around animals, but that’s not enough.
“There are quite a few people who would fit in to that description, male, 40s, brown hair, but he was seen the day after a killing in Caterham about six weeks ago and he was chased by members of the community.
“And the next day he was seen in Caterham again and Orpington the night a cat was killed there.
“Essentially the police put a profile together but we need more sightings of him. We have more information, but we need to make sure it’s the right information to either confirm that this is the suspect or to rule him out.”
While SNARL’s investigation originally focused around Croydon, Boudicca claims that pets across the country are at risk, not only London.
Confirmed victims were recently found in Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham, plus the Isle of Wight and Brighton.
And while originally pet owners were urged to keep their cats in at night, the killer hasoperated in daylight hours, too.
She said: “There have been daytime cases as well as night, but they’re not as common.
“We aren’t telling people to force their cats to stay inside all the time as every cat is different and not all can easily adapt to an indoor life after being free to roam, too.
“It tends to take three to six months for a cat to adjust to living indoors only, so it does require some patience.
“If they insist on going outside, try to supervise them.”
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