The Croydon Cat Killer: The Perfect Moral Panic for our Age?

Last Updated on October 1, 2018 by Karl Thompson

Police may have just found the culprit behind a horrific moggy murder spree which started in Croydon in October 2015.

Three years ago, the decapitated bodies of cats began be show up in various locations around Croydon, South London. They appeared to have been killed by blunt force trauma and then the bodies torn apart with various body-parts being deposited in places which seemed to have been carefully selected – such as on the owner’s doorstep or outside children’s playgrounds.

Local animal rights group SNARL (‘South Norward Animal Rescue Liberty’) hypothesized that this was the work of a psychopath, and, fearing the killing might spread to humans, scoured the country, uncovering hundreds of similar cases.

Investigation Closed

Despite the hundreds of alleged cases reported to the police over the past three years, not one of them was ever linked with any actual hard evidence of an individual actually committing a crime. However, in three of the cases there was CCTV footage of foxes in the area carrying cat body parts.

The police have now concluded that these ‘moggy murders’ were in fact a result of cats being hit by cars (which explains the blunt force trauma) and foxes then playing around with the dead bodies.

Given that both of these events are fairly well-known about, this raises the question of why there was ever a media-event surrounding the ‘Croydon Cat Killer’ in the first place…?

A Moral Panic Fit for a Culture of Fear?

This is clearly a ‘moral panic‘ (an exaggerated outburst of public concern) – given that animals can’t officially commit murder.  Maybe this hit the headlines because humans love to make up stories, and construct outrageous villains, and the idea of a serial killer stalking our streets after our pets titillates us.

We also need to consider the role of the moral entrepreneurs: i.e. SNARL…. not doubt this gave the activists something to do, and some status for a few years.

Finally, this  in well with the place of our pets in our families. Pets, after all, are part of the family. At least according to the Personal Life Perspective.

Written for education purposes!


The WEEK, 29 September 2018.

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