UPDATE: Seven cats found dead of suspected poisoning

Published: May. 4, 2016 at 4:37 PM EDT
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UPDATE 5/4/16 @ 11:35 p.m.

LOUISA, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Seven stray cats have been found killed near a shopping plaza in the span of several weeks.

Investigators believe someone is doing this just be cruel.

The cats that make up a colony are strays, but they've been considered community pets for years.

"We just take care of them," Burger King employee Ashton Church said. "They're part of the community."

The colony sits behind a vacant building in a shopping plaza in Louisa. The folks who work there say the animals are in no way a nuisance to anyone.

"They don't hurt anybody," Church said. "They're the nicest cats. If they come out toward the trash when I'm taking out the trash, they'll always let me pet them and everything."

Since mid-March, the Lawrence County Humane Society says seven of those cats have been found dead, and as many as six more are missing.

Beverly Pack with the Humane Society says one body was sent to the University of Kentucky for an autopsy, and the results indicated the cause of death was from a rodent control poison called Diphacinone, which is found in several common types of rat poison.

They believe this was no accident.

"I don't know why anyone would ever want to poison cats," Church said.

Pack says she and the Louisa police chief asked each business in the area if they were using rat poison for rodent control, and they all indicated they were not.

Investigators say they will be using video surveillance to monitor the area.

Volunteers are taking steps to trap those remaining cats to take them to the vet to be spayed and neutered.

Pack says a caregiver checks on the cats and feeds them regularly, and they're asking the public to not put any food out for that colony, and any unexplained food left there will automatically be suspected of poisoning.

Pack says as many as six more cats remain missing.

ORIGINAL STORY 5/4/16 @ 4:37 p.m.

LOUISA, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The Lawrence County Humane Society says several cats have been found dead in the Louisa and it is not believed to an accident.

The Humane Society says the incidents were first reported in late March in the area of Burger King in Louisa.

Since then, officials say seven cats have been found dead.

One of the cats was sent to UK for an autopsy. The results indicated the cause of death was from a rodent control poison called "Diphacinione", which is found in several types of rat poison.

Louisa Police Chief Greg Fugitt and Humane Society Volunteer Beverly Pack went to the businesses in the plaza where the cats reside, and asked if anyone was using an ingestible rodenticide for rodent control. They all indicted they were not.

Chief Fugitt and members of the Humane Society say after viewing the timeline of finding the dead cats, the autopsy results and several other unexplained incidents, they do not believe these deaths were accidental.

Louisa Police are monitoring the area and have video surveillance set up.

Investigators say they appreciate the community's support in keeping an eye on the cats, but ask residents not to feed the animals. There are designated caregivers feeding the cats and any food left there will be suspected as poison.