A military leader at Nellis Air Force Base is warning airmen about "pre-serial killer" activities at the Nevada base after four cats were found mutilated in recent months, leading security forces to start an investigation into the animal abuse.
A June email from Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Schaefer, the command chief master sergeant of the 57th Wing at the base, circulating online warns airmen that four cats have been found "cut in half" since February.
"The only parts found have been the lower portion and the cuts have been clean indicating it is not a natural attack by a coyote or any other predator," the email says.
Nellis' Public Affairs Office verified the email's authenticity and said it was sent from Schaefer to senior enlisted leaders and later forwarded to airmen by the base housing office.
The cats' bodies were discovered by housing maintenance workers. The Security Forces Squadron at Nellis is investigating the incidents, according to the email.
It's not clear who owned the animals that were located, but a Nellis representative told Military.com that no base residents reported their cats missing.
Schaefer's email raised the alarm about the animal killings and told airmen to report suspicious activity or if they witnessed any attempts to catch stray animals.
"There may be some pre-serial killer tendencies going on," Schaefer's email read.
A spokesman for Nellis Air Force Base told Military.com in an emailed statement that Schaefer's comment "was his own opinion and not indicative of any previous or current concerns of danger to the community."
Airmen at Nellis are asked to call Security Forces at 702-908-6731 with any info.
In Clark County, Nevada, where Nellis is located, legal punishment by local authorities could range anywhere from one to five years in prison and from $5,000 to $10,000 in fines, depending on the circumstances of the case.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department did not return a request for comment in time for publication.
Under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, service members found guilty of animal abuse could face a discharge from service, loss of benefits and up to a year in confinement.
The incident at Nellis comes after it was revealed earlier this month that multiple feral cats were shot with blowgun darts and some were severely mutilated around the U.S. Army's Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, according to an Oahu animal rescue group.
-- Thomas Novelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.