Saitama cat killings: A string of ugly deaths have this Japanese metropolis on edge

Warning: This story incorporates descriptions of violence that some readers might discover distressing.


The first grim discovery got here when a lady discovered the severed head and paws of a brown speckled cat as she walked alongside the banks of the Arakawa River in Saitama City, Japan. Days later, what police imagine was the remainder of the physique turned up on the grounds of an elementary college.

Within 10 days, by the tip of February, members of the general public had found two extra mutilated cat carcasses, one in a area and one other on the facet of a small city street.

These ugly acts might not have concerned human victims, however they’ve nonetheless left this metropolis within the Greater Tokyo space on edge.

Local colleges are asking lecturers to escort youngsters residence and advising them to stroll in giant teams; police have stepped up patrols, based on Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.

The killings have stirred uncomfortable reminiscences in Saitama, which lately jailed a cat killer who tortured a number of animals and posted movies of his actions on-line. They have additionally raised the specter of the Kobe City baby murders of the Nineties, when a 14-year-old boy with a historical past of committing acts of animal cruelty killed two youngsters, ages 10 and 11, and injured three others.

The killings additionally come at a disconcerting time for colleges within the space. Earlier this week, a instructor at a junior highschool in Toda was reportedly stabbed by a pupil, sparking an evacuation.

A Saitama police spokesperson instructed CNN that they’d launched animal cruelty investigations and have been trying into whether or not the varied cat killings have been linked. It is a criminal offense to kill or injure animals in Japan – punishable with jail phrases of as much as 5 years or fines of round 5 million yen ($36,600).

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One lady in her 80s instructed NHK she felt “scared and uncomfortable” at listening to the information concerning the cat killings – however the considerations transcend these raised over animal welfare.

In the wake of the killings, varied consultants have warned that in some minds animal cruelty can act as a gateway to much more heinous crimes.

“Normally, criminal acts and cruelty are hidden, but daring to show them may be a form of self-expression,” Kenji Omata, a psychology professor from Surugadai University, instructed NHK.

Omata referenced each the case of the sooner cat killer in Saitama prefecture and famous “there was also animal abuse in the Kobe City child serial murder case.”

“I am very concerned about how long similar incidents will continue and whether people will be harmed,” Omata stated.

Kim J. McCoy, a barrister who based the Hong Kong Animal Law and Protection Organisation, warned that some instances of animal cruelty “evolved into more serious offenses against humans.”

“There is empirical evidence to support the direct correlation between those who commit animal abuse and those that commit other more violent crimes on people,” McCoy stated.

Even when the violence is confined to animals, there’s nonetheless a must act, McCoy added.

“Animals are vulnerable,” McCoy stated. “They deserve and require proper protection from harm.”