'Vigilante' cat killer issues poison threat letter to residents
A vigilante cat killer has issued a warning letter to their neighbours - threatening to poison any cats that stray into their garden.
Copies of the chilling note were posted through the letterboxes of residents in Dundonald in east Belfast.
It states: "I have been employed by a number of residents in the Comber Road, Mawhinney park, Ardara area to sort out the 'cat problems'.
"These cats roam free fouling other peoples' gardens, spreading disease.
"I propose to put down bait, when the cat eats the bait, its throat closes and its intestines swell, resulting in 'instant death'. The cat doesn't feel a thing.
"If you want anymore information I will be in th area over the next few weeks, please feel free to ask me any question. I will be in a small blue van.
"On the other hand if you don't want harm to come to your cat, start keeping it on your own property and let it soil your garden."
One letter claimed a cat owner's pet - which disappeared three weeks ago - had already been poisoned.
That resident handed the letter over to East Belfast MP Naomi Long, who has sought a meeting with police.
She said the "disturbing read" had caused serious distress for cat owners.
"I have dealt with a number of constituents who have reported missing cats and to think they may have fallen prey to someone poisoning them is horrific," she said.
"These are innocent animals and someone’s pet. To treat them as vermin and of no consequence is appalling and illegal.
"I recently held a major public meeting regarding a number of animal welfare issues and one which was raised consistently throughout was the need for better monitoring of cats as pets, as they have less protection in law than dogs, despite being popular and loved companion animals."
PSNI inspector Tommy Fairfield said police responded to calls from two residents in the Rockmount area who received letters "purporting to be from a pest control company".
He added: "These letters have been seized and enquiries continue.
“At this stage local police are not aware that any cats have been killed. One cat has gone missing however there is nothing to suggest the animal was purposefully harmed.
“We understand that this is an emotive issue for local residents. While there is nothing to suggest that any harm will come to animals in the area, we would encourage all animal owners to take suitable safety precautions for their pets at this time.”