Animal control officers in northern California have determined that a growing population of urban coyotes is likely the culprit behind multiple discoveries of mutilated animal corpses.
Residents in Sacramento started reporting sightings of dead cats over the past few weeks, the Sacramento Bee reported.
The discoveries came years after headless goats, birds, cows, goats, fish and chickens were found in parks, remote areas and along the light-rail tracks, officials said. No one was ever previously arrested, but the corpses stopped showing up until recently.
“While we have picked up a number of cats in pretty gruesome shape, (including a couple recently in the East Sac area), our veterinarians have determined all of them were caused by predatory animals such as coyotes,” Front Street Animal Shelter spokesman Ryan Hinderman said. “We assess these cats as they come in, and so far there’s been no evidence or information to indicate intentional maiming or killing.”
Chief Animal Control Officer Jace Huggins has estimated at least 40 coyotes are living within city limits and using parks, levees and river corridors to move around and mostly go unnoticed.
Huggins said the best way to protect cats is to keep them indoors.