Reports of Animal Cruelty in Gilroy Have Pet Owners on High Alert

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Shocking reports of animal cruelty in the South Bay have families fearing for their pets and children.

Several Gilroy residents and police said they’ve been finding burnt animals, both domestic and wild.

One woman said her son’s kitten was so badly tortured, they had to put her down.

Tigger, 5 months old, was Caleb Hawkins’ newest and best friend.

“When my brother used to come, we used to hold him, and that was my favorite part,” he said.

But she went missing for a few hours about a week ago and it was Caleb who found her back in their garage -- only she didn’t look like herself anymore.

“She was all messed up and dirty, and we saw a lot of cuts on the back, but there was way more than that,” said Caleb. 

They quickly took Tigger to the vet where Caleb’s mother learned her injuries were no accident.

“She had a lot of trauma to the face, but it wasn’t the main cause of her injuries," said Mariah Gomez. "The biggest problem and the reason we had to put her down was someone had cut her tongue all the way back at the base."

She said they also found burn marks on the top of her mouth.

She shared her anger and shock on social media, where others were quick to share their stories, too.

Cats missing from several homes; reports of carcasses found burnt, mutilated or skinned –all shocking discoveries linked to at least three neighborhoods adjacent to the creek beds near Church Street.

“Having young boys and multiple other animals, it's been kinda fearful for us not wanting to put them outside, keeping them inside at all times,” said Gomez.

A team of residents say they’ve been tracking this trend of animal cruelty since March.

“The amount of abuse and the violence that’s being directed at these animals is atrocious and everybody’s concern is that we know that people that start with animals abusing them, they often move to people,” said Gilroy resident Nan Hawkins. 

Nan said she and her friends have been reporting these animal deaths. Based on their discoveries, she believes there’s about 19 victims.

“We feel the community itself is in danger because we don’t know when he’s going to escalate and change from animal to people,” said Nan.

During the last city council meeting, Gilroy police addressed the issue, saying in the past months they’ve only investigated three reports of animal cruelty, which includes Tigger's case.

“There's been no arrests for any of these mentioned cases, there are no suspects, and there is no evidence and unhoused person or persons are responsible,” said the Gilroy Police Department, informing residents of an increase of incidents involving allegations of animal cruelty and a plea for residents with information.

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