January 5, 2016

Three feral cats found dead in Avon, more are missing


The Dare County Sheriff's Office is investigating a case of three cats from a feral colony in Avon that were found dead in a dumpster last week.

Sgt. Doug Oberbeck, who is handling the case, said that the manager of a laundry facility in Avon owned by Outer Beaches Realty reported at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30, that he had found three dead cats in a dumpster on the property.

Oberbeck said the cats had injuries consistent with having been shot, perhaps by a weapon such as a pellet gun.  The Sheriff's Office said that Dare County Animal Control has sent the dead cats to a lab in Raleigh for a necropsy.

Oberbeck said that there is a feral cat colony feeding station nearby and that the cats are presumed to have been part of that colony.

Debbie Martin, president of Friends of Felines, confirmed that the dead animals were part of a well-established colony of 15 feral cats that is maintained, with permission, on the property. 

Martin said that after the incident was reported, all of the colony cats were missing from the area, but that five have reappeared, one with gunshot injuries.  She said the injured cat has been treated by a veterinarian and is recovering.

However, Martin said, seven other cats from the colony have not been seen since she fed them the night before the dead cats were reported in the dumpster.

Oberbeck said that the Sheriff's Office has a suspect in the case, but no one has been charged yet.   The deputy said that animal cruelty can be a misdemeanor or felony offense, and he feels that this case will rise to the level of a felony.

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