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Sam Penrod ReportingThe discovery was made at the cemetery in the town of Ephraim -- eight mutilated cats, found on a gravesite, deliberately arranged to maximize the shock value.
Police don't know whether it was a cruel prank or some type of ritualistic abuse, but they're looking for suspects.
Debbie Mackey made the frightening discovery on her husband's grave in the Ephraim Cemetery a week and a half ago. Three plastic bags with blood inside were tied to the headstone. Later in the day she returned to find police officers at another nearby grave.
Debbie Mackey: "There were eight cat heads, just the heads all in a row and in a cross, straight down and in a row in a cross and the arms and legs of the cats were in a circle."
At least 20 cats in Ephraim disappeared this summer, according to the local animal shelter.
Randa Black, Shelter Founder: "One woman called me and had six cats and they had been family pets for many years and five disappeared in one night."
The animal abuse is being investigated by Ephraim police, who call what happened an isolated incident.
Chief Ron Rasmussen, Ephraim Police Department: "We don't have any other occurrences to link it to or show any type of pattern."
Local animal advocates insist animal cruelty in Ephraim is more widespread than anyone at city hall wants to admit.
Randa Black, Shelter Founder: "The public is not being warned. They need to know what is going on so they can protect their animals."
Still, for those whose loved ones graves have been desecrated, the graphic nature of the animal abuse makes it even more disturbing.
Debbie Mackey: "Doing something to a grave, stealing flowers is one thing. But when you have animals involved and the killing of animals, it's a totally different story."
And while police look for suspects, residents of Ephraim have been put on alert that their small pets could be in danger. Police say they are trying to determine if any of the cats reported missing were in fact mutilated.
Anyone with information in this case is asked to call the Ephraim police.