ANIMAL welfare inspectors believe a cat killer in Accrington is poisoning pets with antifreeze.
At least four cats are reported to have been killed after drinking the substance in Wordsworth Road.
It is believed the antifreeze was left in ‘home made’ containers near to people’s homes.
The Dennis family, who live in the street, had to have two of their beloved family moggies put down after they were poisoned within weeks of each other.
Gemma Dennis contacted the RSPCA after the second death this week.
The mother-of-three said: “Lenix was only nine-months-old. He was fine and happy, just having a normal day, but after he’d been out on the street we started noticing him acting strange.
“He was walking funny, like he was drunk. We took him to the emergency vets and they gave him an anti inflammatory and checked his heart. His heart seemed ok and so they let us take him home but later that night he had a seizure.
“After that, it just seemed like his brain was gone. He was alive and his eyes were open but he just couldn’t do anything. We took him back to the vets and he had to be put down.”
The incident distressed the whole family, not least because it happened only six weeks after the exact same fate had befallen their female cat, Lexi.
She said: “My children were just devastated. Lenix was a gift to my son for his birthday and Lexi belonged to my eight-year-old daughter.
“I called the RSPCA and reported it because it just seemed strange that it happened twice within six weeks.”
Upon inspecting the area around her property, Gemma found small ‘parcels’ of a substance around her gate and the gate of a neighbouring property.
The parcels were described as looking ‘home-made’ and with liquid wrapped in clingfilm.
The find, along with veterinary evidence pointing to antifreeze in the digestive tract of the animals has prompted the RSPCA to believe the animals have been deliberately poisoned.
Antifreeze attracts animals, particularly cats, who find the taste and scent quite sweet, but it can cause a prolonged and disturbing death.
Gemma said: “I just don’t know how someone can do something like this.
“I think it’s absolutely disgusting. Whoever is responsible just isn’t thinking about the pain it can cause to a family. It’s so hard to pick up the pieces afterwards when you’re children are heartbroken.
“We have still got one cat but I just don’t let him out anymore. It’s just too worrying.”
In November, Luke Freeston’s two family pets were also killed by antifreeze poisoning in Wordsworth Road.
Luke said: “We had two cats, Shadow and Jasmine.
“We used to let them both out every morning and we just did so as normal that day.
“When they came back in, the youngest cat, Shadow was falling all over the place and wobbling about. It was clear there was something wrong with her. The older cat, Jasmine, was just went and led in our wash basket like she didn’t want to be around us.
“In the morning, we took them both to the vets and they were put on a drip. Shadow had to be put down because she was so ill and Jasmine passed away in the night.
“The vets told us that there were traces of a chemical found in antifreeze in their system and that was what made them ill.
“The whole family was just devastated. I just don’t know who does this kind of thing. You obviously don’t want to start accusing people but it just seems a bit odd that it happened to both of my cats on the same day.
“My children were so upset. My four-year-old daughter, Kia, loved Shadow and really thought of her as ‘her’ cat. When Shadow was ill, she slept with Kia on her bed and it just really hit her hard.”
Cats that have swallowed antifreeze act disorientated and suffer from fits, vomiting and diahorrea and it can be up to 12 hours before they eventually die from the toxic chemicals.
RSPCA inspector Kat Hamblin said: “It could be accidental or it could be there’s someone that doesn’t like cats. This is a well-known method of poisoning cats and it is definitely unusual to get four cats on one street. The fact it has happened before makes it more suspicious.
“We are asking owners to be vigilant and look out for any changes in the pets’ behaviour, such as vomiting, to take them straight to the vets.”
Anyone who has found similar parcels or has any other information is urged to call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and leave a message for inspector Kat Hamblin.