BRADENTON -- Several residents of Village of the Arts are upset and looking for answers in the deaths of numerous cats in their downtown Bradenton neighborhood.
In the past month, resident Wendy Colbert said about 10 cats have turned up dead or missing. Colbert said one woman, who used to have about 10 cats, has lost a majority of them in that short time.
"It didn't hit home until my cat was poisoned," Colbert said. "My cat is normally an inside cat but made it outside the screen door."
Colbert heard commotion in the street on Feb. 15. Then a neighbor said Colbert's cat was dead.
"Forty-five minutes prior, I had a healthy cat," Colbert said. "It was not run over by a car. No animal got it. The symptoms were only bleeding from the nose, mouth, eyes and ears."
Colbert said that she was told by her veterinarian and Manatee County Animal Services that her cat was most likely exposed to rat poisoning.
Colbert and other residents believe they know who is responsible.
Colbert said she went through the woman's trash the day after her cat died. She said she found almost an entire pound of fresh hamburger meat, a small can of cat food, and a bowl with food and "bluish, greenish crystals."
Bradenton Police and Animal Services began an investigation last week.
"We looked into it and didn't find anything," said Capt. Darell Akemon. "Officers went over and checked her home. She was very open. She said she didn't like cats, but she wasn't killing them. As far as I know, we have no evidence or indication that anyone is killing cats."
Akemon reminds pet owners that they are required to have control of their animals.
"We all love living in the Village," Colbert said. "We want it to be a happy place. We just can't have our animals being killed."
Residents are meeting to discuss concerns at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Wendy's Bungalow, 1211 11th Ave W. Akemon expects the police department to have a representative there.
An Animal Services representative did not return calls for comment Friday afternoon.
Anyone with information on the case can call the police at 941-732-9300, CrimeStoppers at 866-634-8477 or Animal Services at 941-742-5933.
Elizabeth Johnson, Herald crime reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. Follow her on Twitter@EJohnsonBHcrime.