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Owners track cat taken from neighborhood, found it dead and dumped in river

Posted at 10:35 AM, Sep 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-03 12:35:24-04

LONGMONT, Colo. — Police in Longmont are investigating a disturbing case involving a family's cat that was killed and dumped in a river. The owners say the cat's GPS collar helped lead them right to the scene, but unfortunately, it was moments too late.

Basil and Parsley aren't like most cats.

"They kind of defied what cats do. They like hiking and biking and have this full sense of this fullness of life. Particularly with Basil," explained owner Holly Mathews.

She adopted the cats with her boyfriend Travis while they lived in Norway during the Pandemic.

"They are indoor/outdoor cats. I was never willing to take that away from them after we moved here," she said.

Mathews acknowledges having an outdoor cat comes with risks, but she never imagined what happened to Basil was one of those risks.

"I'm not naive to think that aggravated animal cruelty doesn't exist, but you always think 'It couldn't happen to me or my cat,'" she said.

Since Basil was a little explorer, the couple recently got a GPS collar for her. It shows where she is at any given moment. On a typical day, the app for the collar will show her zig-zagging around the neighborhood before coming home.

If Basil leaves the neighborhood, the owners will get a notification on their phone, which is exactly what happened around 9 p.m. on Sunday, August 27. There was something very strange about Basil's movements.

"She's traveling. It looks like in a car, looking at the speed that she's moving on the road," Mathews remembers.

The couple got in their car and followed the tracker, it was traveling southbound on Martin Street before traveling down East County Line Road, making a quick stop at the St. Vrain Greenway parking area, then a final stop at the bridge over St. Vrain Creek, just south of E. County Line and Zlaten Drive.

"We took what we thought was a faster way of traveling to kind of get to where they were. Then her GPS collar stopped moving in the river," said Mathews. "We were probably not even two minutes behind."

Owners track cat taken from neighborhood, found it dead and dumped in river

The couple eventually found Basil's body in the riverbed.

"He pulled her out of a trash bag. Her body at that point was still warm," said Mathews.

A necropsy showed Basil was shot in the head, likely with a small caliber or pellet-style gun.

"So much anger and so much rage that someone did this to our family. [Basil] was my everything," said Mathews.

The couple has been working closely with the Longmont police who told Denver7 that an officer is conducting further investigation.

Police said there is never a situation where killing a cat is an acceptable response to a stray cat on your property.

If you do have information about the case, reach out to the Longmont PD at 303-651-8555 and reference report number #23-7880.

"You have to be pretty sick to do something like that. I would love to have a message for that person, but I don't even understand those actions," said Mathews.

A GoFundMe was initially set up to raise money for a private investigator to look into the case as well as for possible civil legal fees if an arrest is made. Any extra money will be donated to local animal shelters.

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