Police investigate mutilation of pet rabbit in Luton

Crime news
Crime news

Bedfordshire Police investigating the mutilation of a pet rabbit in Luton believe it may be linked to similar incidents in Harpenden.

The family found their dead rabbit, Casper, in the flower bed in their garden in Verde Close on Saturday.

Casper’s death has been linked to other rabbit killings in Harpenden and Watford.

A spokesperson for Bedfordshire Police said: “Officers are investigating the mutilation of an animal in Verde Close, Luton, which is believed to have taken place between 4am and 5am on Saturday (11 November).

“The owners of a grey rabbit discovered the pet had been removed from its hutch and left in the flower bed having been killed.

“Investigating officers believe this incident could be linked to the wider Operation Takahe where vast numbers of pets have been killed in similar situations in the South East.

“Officers have linked in with surrounding forces and are pursuing several lines of enquiry.”

Casper’s owners posted on Facebook after they made the discovery, the post said: “Someone got into our garden and murdered our rabbit Casper.

“They had cut her head and both legs off and left her in our flower bed for us to find in the morning, taking her head and legs with them.

“Truly sickening and one of the most awful things we have had to witness and deal with.”

Community Crime Sergeant Pauline Leng said: “We understand these incidents are highly distressing for the owners and the concern caused across the wider community.

“We take reports of this nature very seriously and we urge anyone who has any information that could assist our investigation to come forward.”

Animal charity Snarl, which has been investigating the gruesome decapitations by the Croydon Cat Killer since 2015, said Casper’s death and another pet rabbit’s death in Harpenden were being linked to its probe.

Tony Jenkins, head of South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (Snarl) said: “We’ve included them in the investigation because they’ve quite clearly been cut up by a human.

“Whether it’s the same person who has been killing cats, we can’t be certain, it’s impossible to tell if it’s one person being prolific or if there are more people involved.

“But if it turns out there is more than one person involved, we’re hoping to catch them all.”

A two-year-old rabbit called Elmo was found by his owner Donna Leal, 36, with its head and front legs cut off in her garden in Harpenden, on Wednesday, November 8.

She said: “I just don’t understand how he keeps doing it and keeps getting away with it and no one’s is catching him.

“As I was looking around I just noticed a bulge in our flower bed and as I got nearer I realised what it was - our rabbit and he had a completely even covering of soil over him.

“It’s scared the life out of me - it still scares me now - someone climbed over my fence and killed my rabbit probably while we were in the house.”

The Met Police began investigating a series of “gruesome” killings under the name Operation Takahe after Snarl raised concerns.

Hertfordshire Police said it could not confirm whether the death of Elmo was being linked to the wider enquiry.

A spokesman said “several lines of inquiry” were being explored and a post-mortem examination would take place after his body was found in a flower bed.

Anyone who witnessed any suspicious behaviour in the Stopsley area on Saturday, or has any information about any of the incidents is asked to call police on 101 quoting C/49144/2017.