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Woman warns neighbors after gruesome attack on pets

Woman, police conclude the injuries were human-caused, investigation ongoing

PHOTO COURTESY OF SHANNON HUNSINGER - A family photo of Shannon Hunsinger with her three cats - Jackal, Gojira and Titan. Hunsinger was forced to euthanize two of the pets last week when they came home with severe skull injuries.A St. Helens woman is warning neighbors and fellow pet owners to be alert after two of her cats were violently mutilated and had to be euthanized last week due to the extent of their injuries.

Shannon Hunsinger, who lives in the 2500 block of Columbia Boulevard, had two of her three cats return home from an evening outside Saturday, Aug. 27, with severe injuries to their heads and skulls, which appeared to be human-caused, as if hit with a bat or golf club, she said.

Preliminary necropsy results performed by the Oregon Humane Society revealed the injuries were caused by blunt force, ruling out animal attacks or accidental injury, St. Helens Police Chief Terry Moss said Friday.

"All we know now is that injuries were not caused by an animal and injuries were consistent with trauma caused by blunt force injury," Moss said. "How it happened, that we still don’t know and of course who did it, that’s also a mystery,"

The injuries were so severe the two animals had to be put down. Now, Hunsinger is warning others to keep watch over their pets. While local agencies investigate the case, the national animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is also getting involved.

“I want people to know that some sick psycho is out here doing this and they need to keep any eye on their fur babies and their babies,” Hunsinger said. “I want this person caught ... Justice needs to be brought down on them and they need to be stopped from doing it again.”

Late Thursday night, Aug. 25, Hunsinger said she let her cats outside in the evening to roam near her residence in the Forest Park Apartments, something she said she has done often for a few months. But the cats didn’t return after a couple hours, which was unusual.

By Friday evening she found one of her pets, Jackal, hiding under a neighbor’s shed, uninjured but acting skittish, she said.

Early Saturday morning another cat, Gojira, a Siamese, returned home with injuries to his skull, including a severe eye injury and a cracked jaw — the injuries were gruesome and Hunsinger had difficulty describing them. She rushed Gojira to an animal hospital in Portland, but was forced to euthanize Gojira when the medical bills to perform surgery would have reached into the $6,000 range, an expense Hunsinger couldn’t afford.

Late Saturday evening, Titan, her 25-pound tabby cat, also limped home. Hunsinger found him outside her front door with similar skull injuries, including a split pallet. She described him as alive, but clearly not OK and in worse condition than her other cat, and immediately called the police to file a report.

Animal control officers from Multnomah County Animal Control euthanized Titan at Hunsinger’s home and took the remains of both cats to the Oregon Humane Society to perform a necropsy.

While the St. Helens Police Department is seeking information in the case, no leads have been generated so far. On Thursday, Sept. 1, PETA announced it is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction of

the person or people responsible.

Moss said the case is an isolated incident and there has not been a rash of animal abuse reports in the area.

However, Hunsinger’s neighbor, Jessica Kooyman, doesn’t see it that way, saying her son found a dead cat in the woods near their building a few days prior with visible traumatic head injuries. Kooyman said she has also heard numerous anecdotal reports on social media from people who have pets missing in the area, and some whose pets have been killed.

Hunsinger also contacted Harry Oakes, who operates a K9 search and rescue operation, to help locate the remains of other cats that may have been killed in the area.

Kooyman added that she does not believe an animal could have caused the injuries, a conclusion echoed by Moss.

“It appears that someone has intentionally caused injuries to these two cats,” Moss said. He added, however, that is unclear if the two animals were injured at the same time, although the pets’ wounds both appeared to be fresh.

Kooyman and Hunsinger both said they don’t believe the attack was a form of revenge against Hunsinger or her family.

“What’s happening here is somebody very hands-on and it’s somebody enjoying it,” Kooyman said.

Hunsinger said she is still trying to deal with her own pain of losing two of her “boys,” but wants people in the area to be aware of what’s going on in her neighborhood in the event the attack on her pets was not an isolated incident.

Hunsinger is also asking for anyone with information to contact law enforcement or to be on the lookout for similar circumstances in the area. She has used social media outlets and Portland television stations to spread the word as well.

“I want this as far and wide as it can get in this county,” Hunsinger said.

Moss said the police department has received numerous calls and tips regarding missing cats for years, as well as animals presumably killed by vehicles, but nothing indicating a suspect in the case.

"“We’re still looking for information, looking for some ideas from the public about who might have done this and how they were caused," Moss said. "But like I said we’re not any closer [to identifying a suspect], other than being able to rule out the accident or animal caused injuries.”