A pet rabbit who was killed and his body mutilated could be the latest victim of the “Croydon cat killer”, police have said.
Lionhead rabbit Teddy’s dismembered body was discovered by his owners in their garden in The Cleave, Harpenden, earlier this week.
Police said that a link to the Croydon cat killer is being considered.
South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL), believes that about 250 animals have been killed in similar circumstances since October 2015.
A statement from Teddy’s family posted on Facebook reads: “Teddy was one of a kind, a truly special rabbit.
“The nature of the attack on him is very distressing and feels very personal – that someone, somehow, climbed into our high-walled garden, killed and mutilated him and left him next to my daughter’s little pink Wendy house for us to find, is beyond comprehension.”
Teddy’s family warned pet owners across the UK to be vigilant and protect their pets.
The statement continued: “Everybody in the UK needs to be on high alert to protect their pets. We thought we were safe and I’m so very sad we were wrong.
“We need to remember all the pets who have fallen into the hands of the killer (or killers) and honour their memories by protecting the animals we love, all of us, wherever in the UK we are.”
Hertfordshire Police said that officers are investigating the death and appealing for information and witnesses.
The rabbit is believed to have been killed between 6pm on Monday, October 30 and 9.30am on Tuesday, October 31.
“Between these time, the Lionhead rabbit was mutilated and his body left in the rear garden,” police said.
The Metropolitan Police Service has launched Operation Takahe in a bid to trace the cat killer and postmortems have been carried out on some of the animals.
A £10,000 reward is currently being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the deaths and mutilations.
SNARL says that cats, rabbits and foxes have so far been targeted in Greater London, Surrey, Hampshire, Kent, Berkshire, Sussex, Manchester, West Midlands, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire.
Anyone who has any further information that could assist Hertfordshire Police’s investigation is asked to call 101 quoting crime reference F2/17/2084.