Parents in River Heights are being extra cautious after a dead cat, its tail severed from its body, was found Friday evening under the swings at a playground popular with children.
“We were pretty disgusted and kinda scared for our kids to come here,” said Christopher Harper, a father of five children who lives a block away from the park. “For that to happen here, so close to home — it’s very uncomforting.”
The remains were found at William Osler Park, which is at the corner of Brock Street and Mathers Avenue. The Winnipeg Humane Society confirms it is investigating.
Harper says his kids love visiting the park, especially for the swing-set, adding the gruesome discovery in a kid-friendly zone is shocking.
“I just couldn’t imagine if one of my children came here and found it … I know my kids have actually pet that cat here,” he said. “I’ve actually pet him, too.”
According to Dan Bogart, his daughter and her friend stumbled upon the remains while playing at the park around 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening and sprinted home to tell their parents.
CBC News has seen a photograph of the cat but is not publishing it due to the graphic nature. The image shows exposed organs and the removed tail lying nearby.
Bogart and the other father took photos and reported the incident to police, worrying the fatal injuries were the result of a crime.
“We didn’t notice any bite marks, any scratch marks,” he said, “just a slit down the centre of its body, and the tail had been severed.”
While he said he’s trying not to jump to conclusions about how the cat was killed, he is thinking about safety in the neighbourhood.
The Winnipeg Humane Society says the cat experienced trauma, but it hasn’t been determined whether the injuries were caused before or after it died. The organization says it will be performing a necropsy, with results expected in a couple of weeks.
With an air of uncertainty surrounding the cat’s death, Harper and his wife have decided their five children will no longer visit the park unaccompanied.
“I drew the line, you’re not allowed to go to the park [alone] … that for sure solidified that they’re not allowed to come here by themselves,” he said.
Harper says they will also be keeping a closer eye on their cat, who normally goes outside into the yard to play.
The humane society recommends cat owners keep their pets inside their homes at all times.