Animals found mutilated, beheaded, in Tower District alley

FRESNO, Calif. - Tower District area pet owners are fearing for their pets' safety even more after two women found several animals mutilated and skinned in an alley this week.

Maria Espinoza was with her finacée when she walked into her alley in-between Wilson and Ferger Avenues on Wednesday. At first, she thought she was looking at stuffed animals, but then realized she was looking at mutilated animals.

Some of them were even beheaded.

"I just can't imagine anybody hurting an animal in such a gruesome way," said Espinoza. "Just dumping them like they're garbage."

The Central California chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) collected the animals Thursday. Aside from the visible injuries, a spokesman said the animals may have been poisoned. The investigation is ongoing.

The grisly find has many pet owners in the area terrified. John and Michelle Buckham live right next to two alleys – one locked and one not.

They've seen firsthand the trouble that can happen in them.

"Couple years ago, there was a fire down (in the alley) that somebody started right behind somebody's house," said John Buckham. Michelle Buckham adds there's been needles found there as well.

Both hope if the mutilated animals is because of humans, that the ones responsible are caught fast.

"We have enough problems without the animals, too," said Michelle Buckham. "The break-ins and everything else that goes on. We don't need (skinned or decapitated) animals."

As a pet owner herself, Espinoza said she'll be keeping her pets indoors. She also advises her neighbors to do the same.

"Keep an eye on them. Maybe keep them inside until the investigation is complete," she said.

If the SPCA finds anything suspicious in their investigation, things will be handed over to the police.

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