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Northwest neighborhood warns of potential cat napper

Missing Cat
Posted at 9:43 PM, Dec 06, 2022

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Neighbors in the quiet Rancho Santa Fe neighborhood in Northwest Las Vegas said something strange has been happening over the last several months as an unusual number of pet cats have gone missing.

Rebekah Smith began sounding the alarm in the community and contacted KTNV when her deathly ill cat was found miles from her home in late November.

"Tooty was 14 years old," Smith said.

Smith said in mid-October, her cat Tooty went missing and, while canvassing the neighborhood looking for him, an odd pattern emerged in her neighbor's stories.

"I'd heard some different people as I was looking for my cat say, you know, there's a lot of cats in our neighborhood that are going lost," Smith said. "It's just really strange."

Other neighbors had noticed the strange developments as well, like Heather Pelly and Brandon Bynum.

The couple's cat Jazzpurr went missing in May.

"It's just kind of crazy because when this first started happening, when Jazzpurr went missing, I thought, cats run away, right?" Bynum said.

Then Bynum said he noticed traps in his neighborhood.

"It looked like a possum cage to me and I really didn't think much of it," he said.

Bynum said his view of the cages changed when a construction worker along US 95 on the outskirts of town towards Indian Springs found Smith's cat more than a month from his disappearance.

The worker turned Tooty into the Animal Foundation, which was forced to euthanize Tooty before Smith could return from a trip out-of-state because the animal was too sick.

"I had this high and then this low because I'm thinking, oh my god, they found my cat," she said, "They found my cat, and then when they told me they had to put him to sleep I was an emotional wreck. I was crying for two days."

Smith plastered her neighborhood with warnings of a potential cat abductor and contacted 13 Investigates to warn cat owners to keep their pets inside.

Pelly joined those calls to caution because of Jazzpurr's disappearance.

"At this point we kind of know that he's not going to come back, but to not know what happened and to not know if he was OK or not, it's been really rough," she said.

Smith said she will soon file a police report with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

A metro official said they haven't received any reports of pet trapping in the area recently, but urged anyone with information to contact their department.

The Animal Cruelty Unit stands ready to investigate, according to a Metro official.