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Officials warn pet owners after possible poisonings and worse

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MARIETTA, Pa. -- The town of Marietta is decorated for Halloween, but despite the ghouls and goblins that line the streets, there's some a little more spooky on the minds of residents.

"It makes me feel horrible. I love my cats," said Kathy Bowman.

Rumors have been circulating throughout the small town that stray cats are being poisoned. To add to the tension, one was recently found cut in half near the train tracks on West Front Street. It's unclear if it was mutilated or hit by a train.

"I am aware that there was a dead cat this past weekend, but it was up on the train tracks," said Borough Council President Sharon Renninger. Renninger said there have not been any police reports filed about poisonings, but she is warning pet owners.

"I would encourage all pet owners to make sure they take care of their animals. When they are walking their dogs, just be aware of what they may be sniffing at," she said.

The rumors are disturbing to Bowman, who takes care of stray cats that get dumped on her street. While some may be critical of Bowman feeding them, she also traps them and gets them spayed and neutered to help control the population.

"Right now, I'm down to about five or six cats that hang around my house," she said.

Renninger praised this approach. She also had a message for anyone who may decide to take matters into their own hands.

"If somebody is trying to eliminate the cat population, they need to realize if they are using poison, you're putting all animals in the community at risk," she said.