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Mystery of the 500 missing cats

Despairing pet owners in Essonne discover the scale of the problem after launching Facebook page

NEARLY 500 pet cats have disappeared from their homes in Essonne in two years.

The mysterious epidemic of the missing animals was discovered earlier this year, when four pet owners realised the disappearance of their beloved animals was not unique.

It prompted them to launch a Facebook page - and within a few months, they realised the scale of the problem.

One of the group’s organisers, Marion, told France Info that her two pets vanished at the end of March. She said she was convinced their disappearance was not accidental.

She said: “These cats were treated like kings. They had no reason to leave.”

They hope the publicity that the Facebook page has attracted will persuade authorities to act.

Marine Martine, who works with the Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA) said that it is possible the animals had been kidnapped - possibly for their skins, as food, or even as bait in dog fights.

The kidnapping theory has been backed by Christine Dubois, mayor of the village of Mauchamps, who believes an organised criminal gang is behind the disappearances.

According to reports, a white van was seen in areas at the time animals disappeared.

As well as Essonne, disappearances have been noted in neighbouring Yvelines.

Photo: zaimoku_woodpile

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