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Dallas Police Department Will Take Over Investigation of Citywide Cat Killings

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Early this morning, Lt. Kimberly Stratman, who works in the Dallas Police Department's Family Violence Squad, called with the breaking news: The DPD has decided to take over the investigation of the cat killings in Northwest Dallas -- which, from tales shared and found, sounds far more widespread than the slayings of the two cats found in my next-door neighbors' yards Monday morning. Says Stratman -- and DPD spokesman Senior Corporal Kevin Janse -- Dominic Munoz, a Dallas Animal Services investigator, will "work closely" with DPD officers. "He's going to be assisting the Northwest Investigative Unit in its investigation," says Janse. To which Stratman adds, "This is a very good sign."

At 10 this morning, there was a DPD conference call concerning the slayings in my neighborhood and elsewhere. For those not keeping count, this summer there's been a rash of cat mutilations across the city, from University Meadows to Far North Dallas and points in between. And those are just the cases that have been reported to the police; they don't include the cat who resides at the end of my street who, according to a neighbor this morning, walked home earlier this week with a air-gun pellet in its chin and a gaping wound that ran from its neck to its belly. As Janse noted yesterday, Monday's killing was the first "cruelty to animals" offense called in to 911 in the past 30 days.

"Animal Services has said they've seen this happen in other parts of the city," Janse says. "Now, can we tie them all together? I don't know yet. But that's why we're working closely with them, because if we can tie them together, we will. And we will get this stopped."

Incidentally, a good friend of mine who discovered Bill Monday morning corrects something I wrote yesterday. She found both halves of the 12-year-old cat laid out, as she says, "like the Black Dahlia" on a neighbor's front lawn: "I am no C.S.I. expert, but this did not look like an animal attack. They were clean cuts, no blood."

The story's clearly got the media's attention: KXAS-Channel 5 was out yesterday; WBAP-AM was parked in front of the house this morning, as I left for work. And an adjacent neighborhood sent a crime-watch alert to The Dallas Morning News yesterday morning. Below is Kent Kalthoff's report from Tuesday night. But, really, to echo the sentiments of others: Please, keep yer kitties inside.

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