Reward offered in mutilation case
Sep. 30, 2003
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Thursday October 2, 2003
Ephraim police have a new ally in their search for whoever committed this month’s cat mutilations in the city cemetery.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is now offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the slayings discovered Sept. 4.
On that morning, residents of the Sanpete County town found eight heads from decapitated cats placed in a line, surrounded by severed cat paws and legs in a circle on top of a grave. The manager of Ephraim’s animal shelter said the body parts were arranged in a pentagram.
No arrests have been made, according to Ephraim Police Chief Ron Rasmussen, who suspects people of striking out against owners of the grave rather than a cult.
In either case, PETA spokeswoman Tarina Keene said the organization’s goal is to raise the exposure for the case. “Unfortunately, the person or persons are still out there, and we think of them as cowards,” Keene said. “It could be a child that’s next.”
Despite garnering modest results — only 5 percent of animal cruelty cases are solved through the PETA incentive — Keene said the money may help “bring these people out of hiding.”
The organization is also sending a new anti-violence public service announcement, hosted by NYPD Blue actor Dennis Franz, to television stations serving the Sanpete County area.
PETA was also heavily involved in the recent euthanasia controversy in Enoch after it was revealed authorities used carbon dioxide from an old pickup truck to kill stray animals. They even offered to send a veterinarian to Enoch to perform the euthanasia, said Temma Martin, spokeswoman for Salt Lake County Animal Services.
Two hundred animal cruelty cases go unsolved annually, Keene says.
However, Martin said she is hopeful authorities in Ephraim will get a tip. “When it’s a case that is not predators, someone always knows something,” she said. “That’s the one thing we never had in the Avenues case, is any clear human involvement.”
PETA originally offered a $1,000 reward in that investigation but was trumped by an $8,500 offer from the Humane Society of the United States, anonymous donors and Salt Lake City police.
PETA’s Ephraim reward is on the high end. Most average between $1,500 and $2,500.
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