A Wisconsin woman called authorities last month to report dead cats that had appeared on her property with no explanation, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
When a deputy arrived at Liz Masterson’s property near Portage, Wisconsin, on March 22, he found exactly what she had described: Dead domesticated cats lying in the rural area Masterson owned. The animals didn’t look wild, or like they had accidentally been hit by cars, photos show.
“These are healthy cats that had their nails trimmed, declawed, and there was no trauma,” Masterson told WKOW. “In fact, they had an expression of agony.”
The deputy began to investigate, the sheriff’s office said. But three days later, Masterson phoned the sheriff’s office again. She had found yet another cat carcass tossed on her property, she said.
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A day after that, the culprit was caught in the act, the sheriff’s office said: Masterson spotted a man get out of a car in front of her land on March 26, and then watched as he threw a dead cat onto the property. Masterson knew who the 73-year-old man was from past interactions with him, she said. She called deputies again and reported the incident, naming the man she suspected was responsible.
Masterson gave one word when WKOW asked her what the man’s motive may have been: “Intimidation.” She said he had a connection to a property not far from hers.
By this point, nine dead cats had ended up on Masterson’s land over a six-week period, according to the sheriff’s office. Authorities still had no idea where they’d come from, though.
Meanwhile, house cats had been disappearing from homes in nearby Portage — leaving residents of the 10,000-person city north of Madison to wonder what had become of their pets. Masterson posted photos of the dead cats on her Facebook page to see if anyone could identify them.
“These were someone’s pets that have been killed for a sick joke,” Masterson wrote on March 27.
That post was shared more than 800 times. Masterson told WKOW that a handful of cat owners identified their pets from the photos she had posted.
“It broke my heart because my cat was everything to me,” Rebecca Mousseau, a Portage resident whose cat was found dead on Masterson’s proprty, told the TV station.
Portage police detectives and sheriff’s deputies interviewed the 73-year-old suspect on April 9, and issued him a summons to appear in court on April 18.
The man faces charges of cat napping and disorderly conduct, according to the sheriff’s office. The suspect’s name has not been released because he has not been formally charged. The sheriff’s office said additional charges are expected.
Mousseau told WKOW that she’s afraid of what other kind of harm the suspect could do, given what authorities suspect he’s already done.