BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) – Bellevue police confirmed the bizarre story of a lost cat found dead in a neighborhood park on Wednesday, with its head left on the public grill. How he got there remains a mystery.
James Stutts’ two-and-a-half-year-old cat hadn’t been home for a few days and on Saturday he got the bad news. Nomu was found dead a block from his home.
“It was unsettling, but there’s also a closure to knowing that he died instead of still being lost or injured and in pain somewhere,” Stutts said.
Four days later, she was told the cat’s remains were found on a grill in Two Springs Park. He then mistakenly believed that his cat’s head had been severed, the implication being that he had somehow been decapitated by a person.
“Yesterday the (Nebraska) Humane Society called us and told us about the condition of his body, and it was even worse,” Stutts said. “My girlfriend, she was heartbroken.”
A neighbor told 6 News he reported what he thought was a dead cat in the park last week and another said he saw large birds picking what appeared to be a cat there as well.
Today, the Nebraska Humane Society (NHS) clarified what they discovered during the call with Bellevue police. Yes, Nomu’s head is what was mostly left of his ravaged and decomposed body, but there didn’t appear to be any human involvement in his death.
The NHS said Nomu was likely killed by another animal before his remains became targets for other animals.
“It’s a bit better, just nature being nature, not humans with malicious intent,” Stutts said.
Dusty Schelbitzki is a depredation manager at Nebraska Parks and Game. Although it is unclear exactly what killed Nomu, he said it was important to understand why domestic animals are preyed upon by wildlife.
“It is not uncommon for them to attack domestic animals, as this may be a typical predatory response of trying to gain food, some of which may be a basic territorial response to an area,” Schelbitzki said.
While no one has reported any unexpected wildlife sightings in the neighborhood, Schelbitzki said urban areas are attractive to wildlife due to limited predation and available food and water. Keeping your pets close by or on a leash and not letting them out at night can protect them from the unknown.
“One big thing I will say about wildlife is definitely don’t feed wildlife in urban settings,” he said. “It gives them an idea of where they’re going to find food and makes them feel like they’re not afraid of people.”
Indications are that Nomu died of natural causes and the condition of his remains was similarly caused. But the disturbing fact is that it appears that someone placed his body on a barbecue in the quiet neighborhood park.
“If it was something where, say, a wild animal attacked the cat and someone found the cat or what was left of it in the area and just put it on the grill, we’d like to talk to that person, just to find out,” Bellevue Police Capt. Andy Jashinske said. “I think that would help put the neighborhood at ease.”
Stutts wants to know who is responsible for placing his pet’s remains there.
“It’s just cruel, to do that to someone’s pet,” he said. “But this person needs help and I would like to know that this does not happen again.”
Jashinske added that he was not aware of any similar cases in Bellevue, recently or in the past, saying Two Springs is a safe park and neighborhood. He implored the public to contact the Bellevue Police Department for any information.
He added that anyone who encounters the remains of an animal should contact the NHS or the police service.
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