JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Pet owners in the Springfield area who were already on edge following the recent disappearances of multiple cats are even more on edge after an incident involving a family cat was caught on video.
Around 11 p.m. Saturday on Redwing Street near Main Street, a family’s cat named Ashi was sitting on its owner’s front steps when it was attacked and taken by an unknown man.
Neighbor Carlos Spencer said he was in his car across the street and witnessed the incident unfold.
“I watched the guy approach the house. First, he passed the house and then he jiggled the gate to the home next door. Then he dropped a white tarp on the ground. He walked back and started coaxing the cat. Once he put his hand up, he just grabbed the cat. He quickly took it down and walked it closer to the tarp and kneeled on top of the cat. He was aggressively doing something to the cat. By this time, I’m trying to get my cellphone camera ready to record,” Spencer said.
By the time the video record button was pressed, Spencer was able to document what was happening.
“I was able to record him bounding the cat and putting it in a plastic tarp and walking away,” Spencer said.
(Video recorded by resident in neighborhood shared below. Discretion advised.)
Spencer said he wanted to intervene, but because it was dark outside, he was not sure if the man was armed with a gun. After the man walked away from the house, Spencer said, he rang the doorbell to alert Heather Golden, who was Ashi’s owner. The two called the police but did not wait for an officer to arrive. Instead, they got in a car and went looking for the man.
“We actually ran into him. She said, ‘Is that him?’ I said, ‘That’s him.’ So she hopped out,” Spencer said.
Golden told News4JAX, “I yelled, ‘Where’s my cat? Where’s my cat? And he said, ‘What cat?’ Then took off running.”
According to Golden, as many as 21 cats are missing. She plans to put up fliers about each cat.
The man was described as in his early- to mid-30s, being skinny, having a thin mustache and wearing all-black clothing and boots. That description was later confirmed by another neighbor’s surveillance camera which recorded the man walking by as he was holding what appeared to be a white tarp.
Spencer and Golden said they never saw the man or the cat again. And the police never located the man. The incident has neighbors on edge because many of them either own cats that they allow outdoors or feed neighborhood cats that have been spayed or neutered and then released back into the neighborhood. According to neighbors, in recent weeks, many cats have disappeared overnight.
“It’s been concentrated in Springfield between First Street to 11th and then Liberty [Street] to Silver [Street],” said Golden.
Neighbors also say the mutilated bodies of two of the missing cats were recently found in a nearby dumpster.
“We love the animals in our neighborhood, and we want to care for them. We hate that someone is going around hurting them,” said neighbor Jade Smith.
Neighbor Laura Herrman said, “I have four cats, and I am very concerned — gravely concerned.”
One of the cats found dead in a dumpster was a Russian blue cat named Chris. Chris’ owner, along with two other people, started a GoFundMe to raise reward money for information leading to the capture and conviction of the person responsible. As of Monday morning, more than $1,400 had been raised.
But until the person responsible is captured, other cat owners are being advised to keep their pets indoors. And if they are feeding neighborhood cats, they’re being asked to put down food in their backyard and not on their front porch.