Belfield man the target of harrasing letters about killing catsA Belfield man is once again the target of several anonymous letters claiming he is a cat killer, Stark County law enforcement said Tuesday. Officials have not found proof to support this, and the author may face criminal charges for harassment and slander.
A Belfield man is once again the target of several anonymous letters claiming he is a cat killer, Stark County law enforcement said Tuesday. Officials have not found proof to support this, and the author may face criminal charges for harassment and slander.
This has happened twice to Jim O’Brien and no one reported their cats were missing, Capt. Fern Moser of the Stark County Sheriff’s Office.
The Dickinson Press received two unaddressed letters stating that O’Brien has lured, trapped and shot cats in Belfield and has bragged about it at area restaurants.
“I can no longer tolerate and I can no longer keep quiet about what I have heard and have been told regarding the killing of cats in Belfield,” the unidentified person wrote. “What a sick man! This person needs to be stopped before something worse happens.”
O’Brien denied the accusations.
“They just think because I don’t have a cat or a dog in my house that I don’t like dogs or cats,” he said.
The letters were sent to the Stark County Sheriff’s Office. Stacks of letters were also distributed at the Belfield post office and at bars, Moser said. O’Brien also asked the office to investigate the author’s identity.
The unnamed person did not get permission to put the letters in the post office and they were taken out, according to the post office staff. The letters at the bars were also removed, Moser said.
O’Brien was also blamed in a letter for shooting multiple cats and dumping them in a field near Belfield in 2006, Moser said.
Moser mentioned that one letter stated the person was going to go undercover and take pictures. No criminal charges were brought against O’Brien.
The writer claimed that O’Brien put the cats in his garbage can, according to the letters. Police have checked his trash but have found no evidence to suggest he has been killing cats.
The letter stated O’Brien may be running for Belfield City Council. He is not on the city auditor’s list of candidates.
Moser thought it was strange that the person had posted letters around town. Most tips are not made public like this, he said.
“If this is truly happening, at the same time, why would you put a letter out stating what he is doing?” Moser asked.
The writer could face harassment charges, Moser said. O’Brien may file a slander charge against the person who wrote the letters, but the Belfield man said he wasn’t sure if he would seek legal action if the person is found.
Both situations are under investigation. The police do not have any leads on a suspect for either case but encourage anyone with information to call 701-456-7610.