An animal welfare group has pledged to continue the investigation into a serial cat killer after a police probe concluded hundreds of cat deaths were caused by foxes and vehicles, The Independent reported.

South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL) have disputed the findings as has a vet who examined the bodies. A petition to reopen the case has gathered almost 20,000 signatures. Yet a three-year investigation by the Met Police found that the deaths, mainly in Croydon but elsewhere too, were likely to be down to animal attacks or vehicle collisions, not a person.

CCTV shows foxes dumping cats bodies

In a statement, the Met Police said they worked closely with the RSPCA and SNARL, and even examined three instances of CCTV footage which showed foxes with the cats' mutilated bodies. However, animal lovers have poured scorn on the Met’s findings, with SNARL, which leads a campaign to find the killer, now vowing to find him/her, themselves.

Posting on its Facebook page, SNARL said the cats were decapitated with great precision, in exactly the same manner and place, and when the head and body were both recovered for a victim, the same small part was always missing. SNARL reasonably asks how foxes could replicate this over many victims across a wide area. The organisation's investigations also revealed that a cat’s collar was returned five months after its death, and in another case, the victim’s head was found upright in the centre of a garden in another street.

Rabbit deaths have also been reported, and in one case, a head was returned to its owner’s garden six months later in pristine condition. SNARL says this could not be foxes. Based on such evidence, SNARL has decided it will now continue with the investigation, believing its team can cover what the police would have been doing.

Vets back SNARL's claim

Streatham Hill Vets examined some of the injuries on the cats’ bodies, disagreed with the pathologist's findings. The vets stated on their Facebook page that they saw clean, surgical type amputations or beheadings, not done by foxes or wild animals.

A petition on entitled ‘Croydon Cat Killer’ also challenges that foxes are behind the deaths, calling on the Force to reopen the investigation.

Petition initiator Vinnii West has so far gathered almost 20,000 signatures.

How the Met will respond to the counter-claims has yet to be seen and the outcome of SNARL's investigation is eagerly-awaited. However, if the cat attacks genuinely are foxes, it certainly wouldn't be the first time wild animals have acted unpredictably. RSPCA officers in Somerset, Dorset and Devon were called out when drunk gulls began acting confused, losing their balance, vomiting and even dying. And, in a highly controversial move, a New Zealand town is considering banning cats to protect the native birds.