JPD investigates letters threatening to euthanize outdoor cats

Stray Cat Flier

JOPLIN, Mo. – To Joplin resident Charlie Brown, his pets are more than pets.

“My mom lived in this house and when she passed away, I started acquiring cats. And they kind of fill the void for me,” says Brown.

But in the last month, two of the cats that he’s had the longest have gone missing.

“Seeing these letters on our doors just confirmed what I thought. Not knowing what happened to them or what these people could have done to them is heartbreaking,” says Brown.

He explains that around a month ago a woman spoke to him in person, voicing her concerns about the cats in the neighborhood. And then on Monday morning, he and several other residents found letters on their property, threatening to euthanize stray feral cats.

The letter starts by saying cat owners should respect their neighbors by keeping their pet cats on their property. It goes on to say, “any stray feral cat that is captured will be euthanized beginning January 1st, 2021 in the neighborhood.” The letter doesn’t say who it’s from, and residents say they were left in the middle of the night.

It has residents on edge since some cat owners let their housecats play outside on nice days.

The Joplin Police Department has started an investigation, with residents saying they have requested security video and the letters in an attempt to find who’s responsible.

“I hope they catch him, or her,” says resident John Moore.

“They’re on top of it and I’m really glad they are because it’s a serious situation,” says Brown.

Residents in the neighborhood have put together a roughly two thousand dollar reward for information that leads to police finding who left the fliers.

JPD asks that anyone with information regarding the identity of the person circulating the fliers call them at 417-623-3131.

“We know this issue has several people concerned and we want to remind the public that there are proper channels to report these issues such as this to the police department or animal control,” says Davis.

Tianna Fisher with the Joplin Humane Society says that when an animal is picked up by animal control, they are brought to the humane society, and then checked out by a veterinarian. After that, the owner can pick them up from the shelter. The only time a stray animal is euthanized is if they have major behavioral problems or health issues — but the veterinarian makes the final decision.