The crime: Cruelty to animals
The victim: Martha Wertheimer
Location: 6100 block of Chesley
Date: Monday, June 30
Time: 3 a.m.

The loss of a beloved pet is always upsetting. But in Martha Wertheimer’s case, it was flat out disturbing.

In the wee hours before dawn, she let her cats Marvin and Lucy out.

“The next morning I went to get the newspaper, and Marvin was outside in the front lawn but Lucy wasn’t,” Wertheimer says. “He came in and Lucy wasn’t with him. I called and clapped my hands and thought she might be asleep — but she didn’t show up.”

By that evening, Wertheimer says she was starting to worry. Lucy had all of her pet identification tags current, and she was registered with the city and her veterinarian. So she began to call all the local animal clinics, altering them to her lost cat.

Two days later she spotted what appeared to be a clump of dead leaves in her next-door neighbor’s lawn. As she drew closer, she saw that it actually was the remains of her cat.

“I have taken enough biology classes to know what a clean cut is, and what a tear is,” Wertheimer says. “When I turned her over, she had been cut from her throat to her legs. It wasn’t a ragged cut, but a clean cut. Her breastbone was open, and there were no major organs whatsoever.”

Wertheimer also points out that there was no blood at the site, and no signs of a fight with another animal. She called the police to report the incident, and she called the city to ask someone to retrieve her cat’s remains.

Dallas Police Lt. Barry Payne says that while it’s hard to cope with such crimes, it’s sometimes just as hard to speculate who committed them.

“This case could be some type of satanic ritual, for a lack of any way to explain it,” Payne says. “You have to catch them in the act, but I really don’t know what causes a person to do this.”

Payne also says these types of crimes typically happen in spurts. There might be three to five such incidents reported in a neighborhood over a couple of months, and then they stop. He says a pet owner’s best defense is to not let their cats roam free, and to put locks on the yards in which they keep their dogs. He also says it’s important for neighbors to simply be aware that these types of crimes do occur.

“I want more people to know that this type of thing does go on,” Payne says, “and I want more people to be alert.”


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