What's killing cats in Thorntown?

·2 min read

Sep. 17—Cats are dying in Thorntown.

Police don't suspect foul play, but one cat owner isn't convinced.

Samantha Fahnestock reported last week that dead cats were showing up on her property in the 400 block of N. Pearl Street. She told police on Sunday that three more cats had died, and she believed a neighbor was poisoning them, according to Boone County Communications Center records.

Of the estimated 51 cats on the property, only about eight remain, she said Friday. Eleven of the cats belonged to her mother and the others were feral. Now her mom has seven cats, and one feral cat remains. "I'm pretty sure someone is doing it intentionally," Fahnestock said. "There's hardly no cats left at all."

Fahnestock said that over the last month she'd been taking the cats for spaying by the Humane Society of Boone County and returning them to her family's property. But then she started finding them dead and dying.

"They were dying left and right," she said. "I held quite a few of them while they died."

"At this time we don't have any evidence that would lead us to believe that someone is intentionally poisoning them, but it's something we're going to keep an eye on," Boone County Sheriff's Deputy and Public Information Officer Wesley Garst said Friday. Boone County Animal Control Officer Jeremy Smith is investigating.

"There are numerous reasons they could have died," Garst said. "People leave their oil pans out, or cars leak fluids. There are some broken-down vehicles in the area, and cats could get into something from those. We don't know for sure.

"There are so many possible contaminants out there that someone could leave out on purpose, or not on purpose. That's why it's important to maintain a safe and clean environment and ensure we aren't leaving toxins out for animals and children to get into."

Thorntown Police Chief Frank Clark agreed and added, "There are cars out there and cats will get into that stuff, and unfortunately they can die."

Thorntown has a large feral cat population, one even hangs out on Clark's porch.

"There's nothing you can do about them, other than take them to the vet and get them their shots and get them spayed and release them," Clark said.

Authorities removed more than 40 cats from a mobile home along Pearl Street a few years ago, Clark said.

Anyone with information regarding the unsolved cat deaths is asked to call the sheriff's office at 765-482-1412, Option 8.