SHORELINE, Wash. – The King County Sheriff’s Office says someone broke into Whisker City Cat Rescue and killed one of the cats, then tossed its body in a dumpster.
Volunteers showed up early Tuesday morning to find blood splattered inside one of the shelter sheds. That’s when they called police.
The crime has animal lovers reeling and seeking justice.
“We all feel a tremendous amount of guilt because we felt so safe here,” said Whiskey City Cat Rescue Executive Director April Brown.
The sanctuary Brown tried to create has been violated by someone bent on violence.
“You have to be pretty sick to violently beat a cat that can’t get away from you,” said Brown.
The 1-year-old cat named Quixote had been at the shelter temporarily, only a couple of months.
His owner showed up Wednesday morning, but he was too shaken to make a statement.
“That cat did not have a chance,” said Brown. “It couldn’t get away.”
According to Brown, someone had to break open a padlock to gain access to the cat in an enclosure that resembles a tiny house.
King County sheriff’s deputies also found a yellow poncho, which had a strange message written on it.
“Homeless need homes, but not in my neighborhood,” Brown said, describing the message. “And then it said Richmond Beach, and it was handwritten.”
But Whisker City isn’t located inside Richmond Beach, which made the clue even more baffling for Brown.
Police are also investigating another animal cruelty case nearby in Edmonds where a toy poodle had been stabbed to death inside of his own yard in late August.
“The way he went so violent, he had to be scared,” said that dog’s owner, Paul Hensel.
The two crime scenes are barely 2 miles apart -- but so far police say they share no connection.
“When we see something like this, we’re worried,” said Laura Henderson with Pasado’s Safe Haven Animal Rescue.
“If people in the community suspect animal cruelty is happening, they suspect that someone is harming an animal, they need to say something immediately because this kind of behavior escalates."
The volunteers at Whisker City wonder if they can do anything to regain their sense of security.
“You feel like -- do you want to buy a gun? What do you want to do?” said Brown. “How can we protect ourselves and these precious animals we’re responsible for?”
Brown said new security cameras were up and running at the shelter by Wednesday and volunteers are also trying to raise money for DNA tests to see if some of the suspect’s tissue might have been left behind as a clue.
Seattle Humane is offering up to $5,000 in rewards leading to the arrest and conviction of animal abuser. You're asked to contact the King County Sheriff's Office with information at 206-296-3311 and reference the Shoreline cat incident.