Cat killings: man questioned, dogs seized

This tan pit bull cross-breed is believed to have been used in Manenberg’s serial cat killings, according to the Animal Welfare Society.

Police have questioned a 51-year-old man in connection with the serial cat killings that have shocked Manenberg.

Manenberg SAPS spokesman Captain Ian Bennett says the suspect was taken into custody for questioning on Friday August 20.

The man was released on Sunday without being charged, and the case docket has been sent to the state prosecutor.

According to Captain Bennett, the suspect was living at a Manenberg home where two dogs were found that were linked to videos the Animal Welfare Society (AWS) received. The two videos show a tan pit bull cross-breed and a short-haired terrier – just like the ones found on the property – catching cats and killing them.

Police say the man they took in for questioning denies being the owner of the dogs or the owner of the house where they were found.

The videos showing the dogs killing the cats were shot at two separate locations in Manenberg, according to AWS spokesman Allan Perrins.

Mr Perrins said the AWS had removed the two dogs from the home in Manenberg on Monday August 16.The dogs had old and new scratches and bites indicative of animal-defence wounds most likely caused by a cat, he said, adding that no further cat killings had been reported since the dogs had been removed.

The two dogs were “inseparable,” he said. “The bond these two broken old souls share is so strong that they have to share a kennel, and the tan pit bull cross is fiercely protective over her older male partner. Being able to provide them with a safe and loving sanctuary whilst their fate is debated is the least we can do and represents a win-win for everyone,” he said.

This short-haired terrier was used to catch cats, according to the Animal Welfare Society.

Mr Perrins said two disembowelled cats had been found in Renoster Walk last week, bringing the death toll to 42 since July 15 (“Manenberg residents fear more cat killings,” Athlone News, August 4)

On Friday July 30, the bodies of four of the slain cats were sent to the Western Cape Department of Agriculture in Stellenbosch to be autopsied. Some of the cats’ organs were found to be missing. The autopsy showed their wounds had been caused by a sharp blade and not dog bites, said Mr Perrins.

An animal behaviourist will advise the AWS on the likelihood of the two dogs being rehabilitated.

“Instinct is hard-wired behaviour that can be managed and sometimes changed but never totally removed, and we can only hope for a positive outcome following their assessment, but it has to be remembered that they have never experienced a kind touch, warm bed or regular meals and have probably been witness to many repugnant atrocities,” Mr Perrins said.

“The ‘old girl’ is still fearful and tucks her tail between her legs when she sees someone approach, but they are warming to us, which gives us hope. The possible transformation of the dogs into well-adjusted adoption candidates is going to require an enormous investment at one of the toughest times in our lifetime, so we hope that everyone who wants to see us succeed digs deep and contributes generously to this desired outcome.”

Manenberg resident Abdul-Karriem Adams said that while he was happy that someone had been taken in for questioning, the video showed no evidence of human involvement in the cat killings.

“The man claims that he is not the owner of the house. I am glad that the killings have, however, subsided after the two dogs were picked up,” he said.

To report any information, call Inspector Mark Levendal at Maneberg SAPS on 021 692 2626 or the Animal Welfare Society of South Africa at 021 692 2626.