For over a month, someone has poisoned some 60 cats and dogs in Kiryat Tivon, some of them in their own backyards. The mass poisoning reportedly began in the neighborhood of Rehov Sharret, where over 20 cats and four dogs were poisoned in the street. Within days, the poisoning spread throughout the entire town.
One adorable, quiet 10-year-old dog named Sheleg (Snow) was reportedly poisoned in her own backyard. The poison was an organic phosphorous, said veterinarian Dr. Ben Zioni, who desperately tried to save the dog. Sheleg died in terrible pain in front of the family's little boy, who sobbed heartbroken at the agonizing death of his beloved pet.
Activists for the AHAVA association, a non-profit organization that saves animals in distress, submitted a number of complaints to the police, but after they say the police failed to launch an investigation, decided to act on their own.
According to the AHAVA association, on the day following Sheleg demise, one of its volunteers named Yehudit with the dog's owners to submit a complaint to the police. While she was delayed for about three hours at the police station, one of the cats she had been taking care of was poisoned. On returning home, a neighbor told her he saw the cat writhing in agony for about two hours.
Dozens more cats have been poisoned, the last case being about a week ago: A mother cat was poisoned, but three of her still suckling kittens survived and are currently being looked after by AHAVA members.
Now the animal welfare group is appealing for volunteers to help go round the houses of Kiryat Tivon, asking residents whether they have seen anything that could shed light on their investigation. The association is also asking for donations to finance a private investigator to catch the mystery poisoner.
AHAVA volunteers report encountering a great deal of fear among Kiryat Tivon residents regarding a possible psychopath roaming their streets scattering poison. In May, Rostislav Bogoslavski, a serial killer who allegedly murdered hundreds of cats, was picked up in Petah Tikva on suspicion of murdering at least two people.
One resident told the volunteers investigating the poisoning that "we are scared, not only for our cats and dogs but also for our kids. The poison was also put down near a playground, and it's sheer luck a small child didn't pick it up and eat it."
After about a month of investigating, the organization says it has identified several suspects, and has grounds to believe that there is a person in the Kiryat Tivon region who has evidence that could convict the perpetrator. However, this person has not come forward.
According to a spokeswoman for AHAVA, the organization knows from similar cases in the past that witnesses refrain from coming forward with their testimony against animal abusers, either out of fear of the abuser or because they were in on the crime. In most cases a monetary reward persuaded these people to cooperate. Therefore, the AHAVA association is also appealing for contributions toward a financial reward. For further details, call AHAVA at (09) 958-8833 (also Fridays and Saturdays).