A cat not associated with this story who was poisoned in 1982 - photo by foreversouls (Flickr)
9th May 2010: How to catch a cat poisoner? I would like to try and catch the cat poisoner of Walkley, north Sheffield. You may have heard about it. A nasty cat hating person is putting down, in the street, dry cat food laced with antifreeze for cats to eat. This has resulted in the known deaths of 11 cats in Walkley, a suburb of Sheffield. It is not uncommon in Britain for people to kill cats in this way. Antifreeze is a cat poison as it causes kidney failure. See also: Making antifreeze unpalatable to cats.
Let us remind ourselves that cat poisoning is a crime under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and if the person was caught, charged and convicted he would be subject to a possible maximum sentence of a fine of £20,000 and 51 weeks imprisonment.
We know that the police are highly unlikely to catch the cat poisoner of Walkely. It is simply not the kind of crime that the police are interested in. They can't even catch burglars and if and when they do catch burglars they just caution them because the prisons are full.
So what can we do? Not a great deal but it is therapeutic to try. I would love to catch this person. If I did I am not sure that what I would do to him would be legal.
We know that the cat killer bought or acquired brightly coloured fish and star shaped cat biscuits as a poisoned cat or cats vomited them up. It should not be that difficult to work out which manufacturer makes brightly coloured dry cat food. And it should not be that difficult to at least see if some shops local to the suburb in question sells dry cat food that is brightly coloured. This sort of cat food is unusual as most is not coloured in this way. I speculate that the food was Brekkies as they have different colours for each type. This is pure guesswork though. Anyone know what the food is?
I am also speculating that the cat poisoner lives locally. This, I feel, is almost a certainty and a starting point upon which the investigation could initially be based.
A bit of research indicates that a possible shopping area suitable to people living in Walkley would be the shops in Crookes Rd. Here is a map:
Crookes Road is a local high street of shops. To USA visitors a "high street" is a local main street where there are shops and other services and community facilities.
In Crookes Road there is a Co-op for instance (a small supermarket - see Google street view). Perhaps a policeman or the RSPCA could visit the shop and look around? If dry cat food was sold and if it was brightly coloured the investigating police officer could ask the shop keeper for till receipts or computer records of purchases that took place around the time of the cat poisonings. The chances of all this panning out are slim but that is the nature of criminal investigations and it has to be done nonetheless. Something might turn up.
If the cat poisoner of Walkely used a credit card to buy the cat food you would be able to trace him if the till receipt or record was found. Of course, not everyone who bought brightly coloured dry cat food is a cat poisoner in Walkely but you could ask questions and make judgments once you knew who had bought it.
What I am saying is look at local shops and local transactions for brightly coloured cat food that is fish or star shaped and go from there.
Others have guessed that the cat poisoner of Walkely is a man in his 50s who keeps pigeons. Maybe. Not a bad start. Add that to what I have said and it starts to look like it might be possible to catch a cat poisoner. This person must be caught. It is having a profound effect on the lives of the cats and cat caretakers of the area. The cats are being kept in but it has spoiled the area for a number of residents and at least one has expressed a desire to leave.