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Cat death probed in Baltimore

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An outdoor cat died from "unknown causes" in Baltimore’s Park Heights neighborhood, and the city’s animal control office is trying to figure out what happened, a government spokesman said July 9.

“Animal control recovered the deceased cat on July 6 near a dumpster in the 2500 block of Edgecombe Circle North,” said Michael Schwartzberg, a spokesman for the city health department, which includes animal control. “A necropsy is scheduled to be performed later this week to determine cause of death.”

Schwartzberg said the cat was believed to be a part of a feral cat colony whose members had earlier been humanely trapped, sterilized, vaccinated and returned to their outdoor environment. However, the Feline Rescue Association offered a slightly different account, saying the dead cat was friendly, not feral, and was picked up by animal control July 5, not July 6.

Local animal welfare organizations said the neighborhood death toll is higher and that they suspect foul play. The Park Heights Animal Welfare Group wrote on its Facebook page that “volunteers found the bodies of two cats with smashed-in heads” and reported the matter to animal control but that “one body later went missing.” The group said that other cats from the area have disappeared, prompting fears that they were also killed.

The Feline Rescue Association told Examiner.com in an e-mail that a total of "four bodies were found" at an apartment complex but that "only one was left when animal control came." The association said another six cats are missing.

ReLove Animals said it is offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Anyone with information about the dead or missing cats is asked to contact 443-684-2134 or reward@baltimorecats.org. Volunteers went to the neighborhood July 9 to post reward flyers and talk to residents who might have seen something.

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