A $36,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of a Washington state killer—of cats. The New York Times revisits the situation in Thurston County, which in early August made headlines over the deaths of six cats, killed in 2018 in a manner that Animal Services Officer Erika Johnson described as "extremely horrific": The animals were sliced from their stern to their genitals, and their spines had been taken from them. The situation has only worsened: The toll now stands at 12, with a mutilated cat most recently found on Tuesday. The spines weren't removed in all cases, per the Times; in some, the organs were placed beside the body.
The continued deaths have spurred the county to assemble a 10-person task force, which includes a former cop who focused on animal cases and a homicide detective. KING5 quotes Johnson as saying the killings seem to take place between 11pm and 6am, leading officials to caution homeowners to keep their pets indoors overnight. The Olympian quotes a press release from the Thurston County Sheriff's Office as saying it "is extremely concerned that such a predator is lurking and committing such vile crimes in our community." The Times quotes a detective with that office as extrapolating that fear: "There have been past cases where perpetrators were caught that turned out to be serial killers. Is that the case in this? We don't know, but we’re not taking any chances." (This man was shot dead trying to save an abused puppy.)