Deputies issue alert after 1 cat found dead, 4 missing in Parkland

PARKLAND – Cat owners in the 255-home Meadow Run development are advised to keep their felines indoors after the remains of a kitty named Princess were discovered on Sept. 14.

“We have a deceased cat and we don’t know how it met its untimely fate,” Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike Jachles said. “We are conducting an investigation. It appears someone or something might have killed this cat, and we don’t know if it’s human or animal.”

Vultures, coyotes, bobcats and alligators are known to frequent this part of Broward County.

Princess was a black-and-white 9-year-old female that belonged to Michelle Pruiksma. She filed a report with the Sheriff’s Office after her neighbor found her pet.

It had been gutted and its neck may have been broken. It did not appear to have been an animal attack and there was no blood nearby, according to a Sheriff’s Office report.

Pruiksma did not want a necropsy performed on Princess, according to Jachles, “so there is no cause or manner of death” for investigators with the agency’s special victims unit to pursue.

Pruiksma could not be reached for comment.

Jachles said four cats were reported missing, including Shadow, who belongs to Greg Hengber and his family.

The female, 4-year-old black cat with green eyes was last seen on Sept. 20, and Hengber said he was feeling a little guilty because the family would let Shadow outdoors to lay in the sun.

“We didn’t know about what was going on, and if we had known we would have kept her inside,” said Hengber, who has distributed fliers about the missing cat.

“We’re trying to get the word out there,” he said. “We don’t know for sure Shadow is dead. We’re cautiously optimistic, but she’s been gone too long.”

He said his children Eric, 8, and Andrea, 10, want to have a funeral for the cat.

Danielle Lorello, manager of Meadow Run, said homeowners told her that about 10 cats have disappeared in the past three weeks. She said in her eight years there, “we’ve never had this before, to this extent.”

Jachles said keeping pets indoors will prevent a lot of problems.

“I have cats,” Jachles said. “They go off and do cat things and then they come back. But even indoor cats can dart out and disappear. Keep pets under a watchful eye.”

He asked anyone with information to call 911 or the agency’s Parkland district at 954-753-5050.

Two years ago, an uproar over 19 killed and mutilated cats in south Miami-Dade County resulted in charges against a teenager, Tyler Weinman. Prosecutors dropped the case in November 2010 after two experts determined an animal — not the teen — was responsible for the slayings., 954-356-4233 or on Twitter@LindaTrischitta.

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