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[whitespace] Three cat mutilations lead to an investigation in Saratoga

Saratoga--Reports of three cat mutilations in Saratoga have prompted the sheriff's department to pay particular attention to the safety of pets over the upcoming Halloween weekend.

In recent months, cats in three separate incidents have been taken from an area, killed and mutilated, then returned to the same area the next morning. An investigation is under way, although it is too soon to determine whether these Saratoga crimes are connected to each other, or to the string of some 20 cat mutiliations in the Almaden area. In the Almaden incidents, cats have been taken, often from yards or porches, killed and mutilated and then returned to the owners' homes.

Sgt. Joe Waldherr, who is investigating the Saratoga cat mutilations, advises residents to keep careful track of their cats and to consider containing all pets on Halloween night.

Both concern about the safety of pets and the usual precautionary increased enforcement will have sheriff's deputies out in full force on Oct. 30 and 31, ensuring community residents and pets a safe Halloween.

The sheriff's department mobile command post, a renovated 1999 Bounder mobile home often used in search and rescue missions, will be centrally stationed at Argonaut school and ready to respond to any disturbances, according to Capt. Jeff Miles, who recently took over as commander of the substation.

Equipped with radios, computers, cellular phones, fax machines and copy machines--plus a bag of goodies--sheriff's deputies will be ready for tricks or treats, come Halloween.

As they have done in the past, the Community React Team, a local group of ham radio operators, will be helping out sheriff's deputies by patrolling schools. "They are acting as our eyes and ears," Miles said. Eight bike-patrol officers and increased regular patrol officers will be on duty as well.

"We have continued to provide this level of staffing over the past few years and found it is a deterrent to possible crimes," Miles said.
Leigh Ann Maze

Any information or suspicious activity regarding the cat mutilations should be reported to Sgt. Waldherr, 408.867.9715 ext. 251.

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Web extra to the October 28-November 3, 1999 issue of Metro.

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