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Pet owners posted signs for missing cats on telephone poles in Meadowview Estates in Trinity. Ten or more cats are missing in the neighborhood.
Daily photo by Ronnie Thomas
Pet owners posted signs for missing cats on telephone poles in Meadowview Estates in Trinity. Ten or more cats are missing in the neighborhood.

Coyotes or kidnappers snatching Trinity cats?

By Ronnie Thomas 340-2438

TRINITY — Meadowview Estates has 10, maybe more, missing cats. If the culprits are coyotes or hawks, as some suggest, one thing's certain: They have locked into a steady diet.

But some residents suspect something more sinister — cat theft — and they point to suspicious vehicles.

Since their first cat, Sophie, disappeared two months ago, Rahn and Lynn Hogeland have lost three more. She said all four cats were neutered.

Two missing cat signs are on a telephone pole in the neighborhood. Lamar and Amy Osborne placed one of them for Whiskers, their female calico, missing since July 17.

"I've heard about coyotes," Amy Osborne said. "But the only thing is if it were coyotes, we would have seen a lot of fur. We haven't."

Phil and Eleanor Kelly posted the other sign for 4-year-old Furific with notice of a $200 reward.

She said she and her husband spotted a silver sport utility vehicle in the neighborhood twice and that both times the driver acted suspiciously.

"The first time, just as it was getting dark, the car was parked out front with the back open," she said. "Our cat is friendly, and he walked up to the man, who had a young girl with him. My husband called and our cat turned toward us. They quickly got into the car and left."

She recalls the last time they saw the car was Aug. 7, when they stood on the street, talking to Amy Osborne.

"Phil pointed to the SUV, and they took off fast," Eleanor Kelly said.

She said she and her husband followed the car into the adjoining Forest Home Estates subdivision.

"They pulled out in front of us, driving across lawns and into an industry parking lot before we lost them," she said. "This time, the driver was a woman with a younger woman with her. We went to Trinity police, who told us they'd be back. But we haven't seen them again. I haven't dealt with pet theft before."

Lynn Hogeland said she called the Decatur Animal Shelter and the Morgan County Animal Shelter after a neighbor informed her of a suspicious white van in Meadowview.

Hogeland's daughter, Alaina Raper, thought perhaps someone was snatching cats and selling them to a lab.

Chris Phillips, adoption manager at Decatur Animal Shelter, said Trinity isn't in the shelter's jurisdiction but remembers Hogeland's call.

"I don't have an idea of what it might be unless it's coyotes or wild dogs that would harm cats," he said.

Claudia Ray, director of Morgan County Animal Control in Hartselle, said she does not dispute what the Kellys say. But she believes that in most cases, it would be difficult to drive down a street and pick up a cat.

"Normally, cats aren't like dogs and most are not going to just sit down," she said. "As for research labs, it isn't like in the 1960s, when they used a lot of animals for testing. Places are becoming aware that cats and dogs are companion animals."

Ray said, "But until they figure out what's going on, (pet owners) should try to keep their animals inside the house, especially at night."

That's what Hogeland is doing with her two remaining cats.

Missing cats

Sophie, age 2, long-haired, cream-colored, blue eyes.

Niki, age 10, black and white short hair.

Phoebe, age 8, black Persian.

Spices, black and white.

Owners are Rahn and Lynn Hogeland.

Whiskers, age 10, female calico.

Owners are Lamar and Amy Osborne

Furific, age 4, $200 reward, shorthaired, black and white.

Owners are Phil and Eleanor Kelly.

Descriptions of other missing cats were not available from owners.

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