Cat Killer reward rises to $53K, continues to grow

Sep 18, 2018, 9:54 AM

The reward for Thurston County’s infamous cat killer has risen to $53,000, and will likely continue to grow as the hunt for the suspect moves forward.

REWARD: Patrols searching for pet killer around Olympia

“Offering a reward is sometimes useful in cases when there is no suspect yet, or there is minimal evidence,” said Wendy Ogunsemore with Pasado’s Safe Haven. “We do this from time-to-time based on the unique circumstances of each case…”

“In general, it helps get the word out quicker to a broader community (media, social media, etc.),” she said. “It also encourages people to be more aware of their surroundings, and report suspicious behavior as it happens. And in some circumstances, individuals are more comfortable making a report to us than to the police, whether they want it to be anonymous or they don’t know if the tip is valuable enough to make an official report.”

Pasado’s Safe Haven has set up a donation website to gather ongoing contributions to the overall reward. The money aims to help identify a suspect in the case. So far, 13 cats have been killed between February and August around Olympia, Tumwater, and Lacey. They are mutilated in a way that relates each incident. There are no suspects. Crime Stoppers and Washington’s Most Wanted have joined the effort. Olympia police and the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office have started a special cat killer task force.

Tips can be called into 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips remain anonymous.

According to Pasado’s website: “Current reward includes $5,000 from Peace 4 Animals/World Animal News (plus an additional $5,000 directly to our Cruelty Investigations & Rescue Fund), $5,000 from Seattle Humane, $5,000 from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, $5,000 from PETA, and $10,000 from the Humane Society of the United States.”

Some Thurston County residents have started patrols around Olympia to search for a suspect. One expert says that the cat killer could be the emergence of the region’s next serial killer.

Ogunsemore said that Pasado’s always works with the responding officers to make sure they want this sort of reward support. The animal welfare organization also sometimes helps pay for forensics, DNA testing, and crime scene processing for police.

“Also, things like ritualistic or serial killings of animals is not something that law enforcement is typically used to dealing with or trained for,” Ogunsemore said. “We help by connecting them with a network of experts (for example, a reputable forensics veterinarian) so they have a strong case if charges are filed.”

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Cat Killer reward rises to $53K, continues to grow