Authorities in New York state's Putnam County area believe there's a "serial cat killer" at large. Earlier this week, a seven-month-old feline named Blackfoot died in the Westchester Animal Hospital, after the brown-and-black Calico was found beaten and shot in the spine. A mile away from the site of Blackfoot's shooting, a cat head was found last August.

"That took place within a month of two cats that were found nearby in Connecticut in the same condition," Ken Ross of the Putnam County SPCA told NBC.

Three decapitated cats in two months. Six months later, another cat is shot and beaten, and left for dead a half-mile away. This is really fucked up.

There is a long and well-documented connection between animal cruelty and human serial killing. A short list of examples, courtesy the Los Angeles SPCA.

  • Albert DeSalvo, the "Boston Strangler" who killed 13 women, trapped dogs and cats in orange crates and shot arrows through the boxes in his youth.
  • Carroll Edward Cole, executed for five of the 35 murders of which he was accused, said his first act of violence as a child was to strangle a puppy.
  • In 1987, three Missouri high school students were charged with the beating death of a classmate. They had histories of repeated acts of animal mutilation starting several years earlier. One confessed that he had killed so many cats he'd lost count. Two brothers who murdered their parents had previously told classmates that they had decapitated a cat.
  • High school killers such as 15-year-old Kip Kinkel in Springfield, Ore., and Luke Woodham, 16, in Pearl, Miss., tortured animals before embarking on shooting sprees.
  • Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who shot and killed 12 classmates before turning their guns on themselves, bragged about mutilating animals to their friends.

What else do these examples have in common? Youth. So it's not unthinkable that the person doing this could be young.

"Something's going to happen to a human," Ross also told NBC. "Something's going to be done to a human because this person no longer has the control to hold back."

[NBC via Gothamist; photo of a hopefully safe and happy cat by Shutterstock]