Residents of several Haifa neighborhoods have been shocked by a spate of cat killings and abuse recently, reports Yediot Haifa. Piles of dead cats have been found in at least two different locations, apparently after having been poisoned, while several injured kittens were also found and had clearly been abused. According to the report, one Neveh Sha'anan resident who was in the habit of feeding local street cats was shocked to discover 12 feline bodies in the yard of her building, including that of her own pet. And elsewhere in the city, another resident discovered another pile of dead cats in a garden. Police suspect that in both cases the cats had been poisoned. But the most shocking discovery was at a service station at the entrance to Kibbutz Ein Carmel, where a man heard whining and discovered a kitten held to the ground by a heavy plank of wood placed across its back and tail. The man lifted the wood off the kitten, which had a broken leg from its weight, and then heard more whining. He found another kitten almost drowned in a barrel of oil. The man said two youths were standing nearby but claimed they had not heard the kittens' cries, and it was obvious that they had been the tormenters and he had interrupted them soon after they had begun abusing the animals. Local animal rights organizations said there was a "barbaric phenomenon" in which people who did not like cats took the law into their own hands and took "cruel and illegal" steps to get rid of them. They said abusers should be severely punished. Haifa police chief Dudu Ben-Atia said the killing and abuse of cats was "extraordinary and extreme" and police were taking all the cases very seriously. "Anyone capable of hurting animals is capable of hurting people too," Ben-Atia said.