TEMPE, Ariz. — The Tempe Police Department said Thursday it has responded to nine calls for service since May that involve dead cats.
The latest happened Thursday morning on Wesleyan Drive in the Meyer Park neighborhood, just west of McClintock High School.
Joanne Daugherty says he was walking her two dogs Thursday morning when she came across the gruesome discovery.
"I could tell right away what it was, it was two pieces of a cat," Daugherty said.
Daughtery said the cat's fur was intact and that its intestines were partially showing, but there was no blood.
She believes no animal predator behaves that way.
"An animal usually takes its prey and hides it somewhere so another animal won’t come along and steal it. It would not just set it right out there in the middle of a yard to be seen by all," Daughtery speculated.
"Some of the neighbors came out and we thought that it was not killed there, that it was placed there."
The Tempe Police Department does not believe there is any sort of human cat killer in the area.
Detective Greg Bacon said officers had described "bite marks, saliva, or other notes to indicate there is no foul play."
The explanation has not met muster with the residents of the neighborhood, who communicate in an online platform called NextDoor. A user posted gruesome descriptions of multiple dead cats missing body parts.
"These are clean, the torturing and/or killing is not taking place in the yards, the parts are left," the user wrote."
That description led 12 News to contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Darren Julian, an urban wildlife expert, believes the description indicates the predator was not a wild animal.
"Without having any physical evidence to view, I can only go by what was described as that the cat parts appeared to have been 'clean' cuts," Julian said in an email. "Wild predators do not kill or consume their prey with 'clean' cuts."
Julian added that coyotes do not leave large parts behind, usually eating the entire animal, possibly leaving behind small bones or some fur.
"Without either photos, or an eyewitness, one cannot say definitively what may be killing cats in Tempe," Julian concluded.
Joanne Daugherty and her neighbors told us they fully believe there is a human predator on the loose. One neighbor, Casey O'Malley, told us he was "90% sure a person did that," after seeing the dead cat himself Thursday morning.
Daugherty hopes that if it is a person doing this to cats, that person is found quickly.
"Somebody that is just evil and has no life and no empathy or heart," Daugherty said when asked who would commit a crime like this.
"And I don’t want to know them. And I hope they catch them."