PORTAGE (WKOW) -- A Portage man will appear in Columbia County Court Wednesday, April 18, to face multiple charges including felony mistreating animals, catnapping, disorderly conduct and harassment.
Paul A Greiner, 73, is suspected of killing cats and dumping their bodies on a rural Columbia County property.
Detectives from Portage Police Department and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant April 11, 2018 at the suspect’s house in Portage. The investigation revealed that Greiner was trapping these cats on his own property near the bird feeders. Three of the dead cats have been identified as being domesticated cats from the city of Portage.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office received a call March 22 from a town of Lewiston resident reporting that she found some dead cats on her property.
The caller, Liz Masterson, says she began discovering the bodies of cats on her land twelve miles from Portage. Masterson says she found nine dead cats in a period of six weeks. Masterson says there was no indication the cats had been hit by cars on a nearby road, or were feral.
A deputy started the investigation and noticed what appeared to be dead domestic cats were thrown in this person’s yard.
Then on March 25, 2018 Masterson reported to the sheriff’s office that another dead cat was found on her property.
On March 26, 2018 Masterson reported that she saw a man exit a vehicle which was stopped in the road in front of her place and throw a dead cat onto her property.
Masterson told investigators that she knew who this person was from previous contacts with him. Through the investigation, investigators learned that nine dead cats were discarded on her property. Initially there was no information on where these cats came from or how they died.
It was later learned that there were some residents in the city of Portage that were missing some of their domesticated house cats.
Detectives from the Portage Police Department and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office worked a joint investigation into how and why the dead cats were discarded on someone’s property.
"These are healthy cats that had their nails trimmed, declawed, and there was no trauma," Masterson said. "In fact, they had an expression of agony," she says.
Masterson posted photos of the cats she found to social media, hoping people would recognize their pets.
Rebecca Mousseau of Portage said her nine month old, gray and white colored cat Lucky went missing in March.
"I had a phone call on my answering machine from Liz, asking if I could identify the cat that was on her property, and it was my cat," Mousseau said.
"It broke my heart because my cat was everything to me," Mousseau says.
Mousseau says while she does have the ashes of her beloved pet, she also has fear over what this suspect may be capable of, as he remains in the community.
Masterson says two other cat owners have positively identified their missing pets as found on Masterson's property.
Masterson says on one occasion, she confronted the suspect as he dumped a cat's body on her land, and drove off.
"The investigators have done a tremendous job," Masterson says.
She said the suspect has connection to a nearby property, and believes the dumping of the cats near her home was intentional. "Intimidation."
Our sister station 27 News in Madison has been unable to reach the suspect for comment.