Animal investigators are on the lookout for a serial cat murderer striking the inner Loop neighborhoods of Lazybrook and Timbergrove, just above I-10 and west of T.C. Jester.
Sergeant Virginia Brasher, a 30-year veteran of the Houston Police Department who covers animal cruelty cases, tells CultureMap that the back half of a mutilated cat was discovered June 25 after the animal's owners spend two days searching for their pet.
Those who saw the partial body, which was placed in plain sight in the middle of the street, said there was no visible blood at the scene and that the wound was clearly made by a knife. Ten days later, the badly decomposing front half was located less than a block from the owner's house.
"Six similar incidents have been reported i n the area since 2008. The cats have been mutilated and placed in an area where the owners usually end up finding them pretty quickly."
"Six similar incidents have been reported in the area since 2008," Brasher says. "The cats have been mutilated and placed in an area where the owners usually end up finding them pretty quickly. Some of the bodies have been very close to their original homes."
Without eyewitnesses or evidence, HPD investigators have turned to Crime Stoppers of Houston, which is offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest or conviction of the culprit.
"We have very little to go on right now," Brasher says. "We're hoping someone in the area sees and reports something suspicious, just so we can start the process. Maybe the person or persons behind this has bragged about the crime."
Along with bed-wetting and a penchant for setting fires, animal cruelty is one of the key pieces in the notorious Macdonald Triad — the set of behaviors often linked to latent homicidal tendencies.
Dr. Oscar Bukstein, a psychiatrist from the UT Health Sciences Center, tells KHOU the mutilation aspect of the killings are particularly alarming. "It takes it a few steps further. In other words, it’s not just an impulsive act," he says. "You have to think about people actually going out and looking for animals to harm and having this thought out. Aggression is one thing. Torture is another."
Brasher advises cat owners in the targeted areas to keep their animals indoors. "They should be treated more like dogs — contained in a yard or kept inside. That will avoid this very disturbed person from having access to people's pets."
Anyone with information about the string of mutilations is asked to contact Crime Stoppers online or at 713-222-TIPS. The organization insures that all tipsters will remain anonymous.