Rabbit killer in Germany

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Rabbit killer in Germany

Post  Cynic on Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:47 am

Riddle of the pet rabbit serial murders

By Tony Paterson in Berlin
Friday, 13 June 2008


ALAMY
More than 40 pet rabbits have been found dead and police in Dortmund have set up a task force to track down the killers

Anxious rabbit owners in Germany's Ruhr district have started locking up their pets at night after a spate of mysterious and brutal "bunny murders" which have baffled police and left more than 40 animals dead.


The most recent case occurred last Sunday night just outside the industrial city of Dortmund in the small town of Witten. The owner of two rabbits went to their cages on Monday morning to find that one of his pets had disappeared while the other was headless. The killing spree, which is thought to have started in the region last summer, continues to mystify police in the Dortmund area.

In an attempt to catch what is presumed to be a specialist rabbit assassin, the force's criminal investigation department has set up a special task force.

Oliver Peiler, a task force spokesman, said: "We have a number of officers working on the case and we are carrying out exhaustive investigations." But he admitted this week: "We have no idea who is doing this. We are still in the dark."

One of the most disturbing incidents occurred over Christmas last year in a village outside Dortmund. When the owners of a pair of breeding rabbits called Fussel and Marianne went to feed their pets one morning they found the animals' corpses dumped on the ground outside their hutches. Both were without heads and had been bled dry.

Police have recorded the deaths of more than 40 animals over the past nine months. Initially the killings were limited to a few isolated incidents, but in spring the number of murders gathered pace with four new cases in May.

The five police officers working on the case full time have interviewed more than 300 people in their search for the perpetrator.

Animal rights groups in the region have put up a reward of €2,500 (£2,000) for information leading to the arrest of the killer. Police say they think either one individual or a well-organised group is responsible.

The case is reminiscent of a spate of similarly brutal horse killings across western Germany almost a decade ago. A number of horses were attacked and killed or maimed with knives. Some were also decapitated. The perpetrators were never caught.

There has been speculation that satanists could be responsible for the rabbit killing spree. Sabine Riede, the head of a group which monitors religious cults, told the local Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper: "The fact that blood appears to have been deliberately drained from the dead rabbits could indicate that satanists were gathering material for a ritual."

Volker Schütte, of the police task force, said officers were even investigating the possibility that the killers were using Google Earth to help them track down rabbit hutches in the region.

"It's not like after the war when everyone had a rabbit in his backyard – rabbits are not that easy to find these days and many of the hutches can't be seen from the road," he said.
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