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Samantha Hayes ReportingSince May of last year 11 dead and mutilated cats have turned up in Salt Lake's Avenues. Now, a theory first reported by Eyewitness News two weeks ago turns out to be exactly what happened.
It's not a human, but another animal to blame. All of those animals,.11 cats and a dog were found in the same area, on H Street around 8th Avenue and at the cemetery. That similarity as well as some hard core forensic evidence has lead to an interesting and relieving discovery.
Over the past year the area has seen the leftovers of what many assumed was the work of a sadistic animal killer -- someone cutting up cats and leaving them out in the open to scare people. It did.
The Humane Society of the United States even sent public service announcements to Salt Lake and Denver, visuals from a cat's point of view about outside dangers.
Now hair samples taken from dead cats show the hunter is a fox.
Temma Martin, Salt Lake County Animal Services: What kept us thinking it was human was the veterinarians said the cuts were too precise to be inflicted by an animal.”
A veterinary pathologist first told Eyewitness News about two weeks ago the cuts looked like the work of a fox. Lawrence McGill, D.V.M., Ph.D., Veterinary Pathologist: “I'm seeing cats or parts of cats left that show a predator getting a hold of these individuals and taking the parts they want and eating those parts."
Animal control thinks fox's den is just a dry grassy area at the top of "H" street where many of the cats’ mutilated bodies were found.
Paul Young, Neighbor: “I’m glad. I’m glad it wasn’t some group of kids tearing up cats.”
Severe drought conditions are thought to be the reason foxes and other predatory animals are moving in close looking for food. But don't expect animal control to move them back out.
Temma Martin: “Again there is not going to be an arrest and a bad guy put in jail, so we just have to do what we can to protect our pets.”
Temma Martin says she was leaning to this conclusion because leads on people given to police just didn't pan out.