The police are studying CCTV footage following yesterday's macabre discovery of a cat and a dog found dead and hanged to a cross near Mosta church.

The case was the most brazen yet in a series which started in 2011.

The perpetrator hung his victims in the heart of Mosta, a block away from the police station, and in full view of five CCTV cameras.

A fox terrier was found nailed upside down to a wooden cross dangling from a lamp affixed to a wall outside the sacristy at the side of the church, while a similarly crucified ginger tom cat was found hanging off the statue of St Philip by the church’s main doors.

The police would not exclude that more than one person is behind the series of gruesome killings which have been occurring since 2011.

Investigators initially followed a potential link between the first case and a 1999 murder since the house where the first puppy was found was where Franġisku Buhagiar, who is now in his 80s, had shot his sister dead following an argument over burnt toast. The statue alongside which one of the animals was found yesterday had been restored by Mr Buhagiar.

Mr Buhagiar had denied any involvement, saying that the perpetrator was trying to put him in a bad light.

Mosta mayor Shirley Farrugia told Times of Malta that footage of the perpetrator was actually captured on September 16, when eight paws and a tail were found nailed to two crosses hanging from the statue of St Mary in Britannia Square.

But the grainy quality of the footage, coupled with the fact that the person was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, meant he was unidentifiable. However, it has been established that the perpetrator on that day was a male adult.

Sources told Times of Malta that the suspected perpetrator might be harbouring a hatred for animals after a relative left her wealth to animals in her will.

Dr Farrugia expressed concern over the sustained killings, adding that the police have beefed up surveillance and the local council was also doing its best to urge any witnesses to speak up.

Meanwhile, Marvic Attard Gialanzè, president of the Malta Cat Club which is offering a reward fund for whoever gives information to help lead to the perpetrator’s arrest, told Times of Malta that the situation was being taken too lightly by the authorities.

“Yesterday’s killings occurred a stone’s throw away from the Mosta police station, practically under the police’s noses.

“The perpetrator, whom I believe is a highly intelligent person, is becoming bolder and flaunting the fact that the police didn’t manage to catch him.

“Wouldn’t it help if the police released the footage so that the public could perhaps identify the killer?

“Sometimes, one could even recognise a person by the way he holds himself.”

Ms Attard Gialanzè questioned where the attacker was obtaining the animals from.

“Are they his own or are they street cats? No feeder has reported missing cats from cat colonies, which I find strange.

“Cats are naturally cautious animals – you wouldn’t just catch a street cat unless you earn its trust. People need to be wary every day.”

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