Cats poisoned in Peoria

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PEORIA, Ariz. – As many as seven cats have been poisoned in a Peoria neighborhood and Animal Control officers are seeking information from the public.

On June 17, the Peoria Police Department's Animal Control officers were notified of a dead cat at a home on 88th Drive between Bell Road and Union Hills Drive.

According to police spokesman Jay Davies, an Animal Control officer located a dead black-and-white shorthair cat in the front bushes of the complainant's property. The cat had blood coming from its mouth but showed no visible signs of trauma.

The homeowner led the officer to another sick cat on the premises. That black-and-white cat was alive but would not move and had blood coming from its mouth.

The cats did not belong to the homeowner and were determined to be free-roaming cats. They were not feral, as witnesses describe them as being human-friendly and approachable prior to their sickness, Davies said.

While at the woman's home, the officer was waved down by another neighbor who reported that there was a sick cat on his property, as well. The officer observed that cat, also black and white, showing similar symptoms.

Both sick cats were taken to an emergency animal clinic where they had to be euthanized.

On June 21, Animal Control was dispatched to the area again and picked up another live cat exhibiting the same symptoms. That cat was taken to an emergency animal clinic where it was euthanized.

Samples from all three euthanized cats were then submitted for laboratory testing, which confirmed that all three cats were poisoned.

The original complainant advised that she had also located two additional dead cats on June 16 but had bagged them and placed them out for sanitation to pick up. Later that day, she had Animal Control pick up a sick cat that exhibited similar symptoms. That feline had to be euthanized.

"We recommend people explore trap, neuter and release," Davies said. "If you poison a cat or trap it and kill it and remove it, more cats are going to take its place."

Davies said there are three confirmed and an additional four suspected poisonings. Police believe the cases are related and the investigation is ongoing.

Animal Control officers will be knocking on doors near Grovers and 89th avenues Wednesday afternoon, seeking information about the cat poisonings.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department's tip line at 623-773-7045 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.