Harwich: Hunt for cat killer after 24 found poisoned

POLICE are investigating after more than 20 cats have died as a result of suspected poisoning in a north Essex town.

Kinfauns Veterinary Clinic in Dovercourt said it has treated 23 cats for kidney damage thought to have been caused by drinking anti-freeze.

Cat owner Glen Brunsden of Empire Road had three of his cats put down after they suffered suspected anti-freeze poisoning. Similar cat deaths have been reported in Crown Lane, Hordle Street and Lee Road.

Veterinary surgeon at Kinfauns Alan Smith said: “I’ve never treated such a large number of cats with such acute an illness. It’s very shocking.

“The first cat was brought to us on July 27 and the last one was brought in on Wednesday. They have ranged in ages from 15 months to eight and a half years-old. Most of them have had blood tests which show kidney damage which can be caused by ingesting anti-freeze.

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“Treatment can be given but it’s not often successful.”

He said cats become ill within hours of drinking anti-freeze and their symptoms include fits, lethargy and vomiting.

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Highcliff Vetinary Practice in Brantham treated another cat from Dovercourt this week for acute kidney failure. Assistant vet Emma Spearing said: “The symptoms progress very quickly and any exposure to anti-freeze makes treatment almost always futile. Anti-freeze is sweet smelling and cats can’t resist it.”

Police and the RSPCA said it is not clear whether the cats have been poisoned or if there is a car leaking anti-freeze.

But Mr Brunsden, who has set-up a Victims and Friends of Cat Poisoning Facebook group, said he is almost certain someone is deliberately killing cats.

“It’s got to be poisoning, a leaking car does not kill more than 20 cats so there’s no way this is an accident,” he said.

“The police have been down and had a look and I’ve been doing patrols. We want this person or people caught.”

Mr Brunsden said he is keeping his fourth cat, Shef, indoors for the time being.

A spokeswoman from Essex Police said: “Police are aware of a number of cat deaths in Dovercourt possibly caused by ingesting anti-freeze. We are working with the RSPCA on the matter and will pass on any information we obtain.”

RSPCA inspector Sarah Elmly said: “This is extremely worrying. We don’t know if it is being done deliberately or not, but if it is then an offence is being committed and those responsible could face prosecution.”

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