THE owner of a Southampton cat that was killed by the UK animal killer has branded the police’s decision to attribute 500 mutilations to fox attacks as “ridiculous”.

Met Police yesterday declared that following a three-year investigation and 25 post-mortem examinations, the so-called Croydon cat killer, or UK animal killer, doesn’t actually exist.

Despite receiving more than 400 similar reports of cats being mutilated across the country, including Southampton, those will now be recorded as ‘no crime’.

Anna McBride, 29, is the owner of Rocky, who was killed overnight between June 23 and 24 in the SO18 area of the city.

It was the second case of the UK animal killer striking in the city.

Anna said: “It’s ridiculous, and I don’t think it sends a very good message that police have said it is a fox.

“Rocky’s tail was cut with a bladed article.

“The police are running out of money after three years on the case and they have to find a way to bring it to a close.

“The animal killer is going to see that and I’m now afraid that they will get cocky and that’s not going to help anyone.”

Police commander Amanda Pearson said a large number of reports of mutilated cats were given to investigating officers.

She said: “In particular, they were following up six suspicious cases identified by the post-mortem examinations.

“It is this collating of reports that enabled officers to work with experts and reach the conclusion that no further police investigations are required into any of the allegations relating to mutilated cats.”

The South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty, the organisation which began investigation, said it was “surprised” by the announcement.

A statement said: “As you can imagine, this morning’s announcement has come as a surprise and we will be taking advice on how to move forward.

“We consider that the evidence we have gathered over the last three years does indicate human involvement and there is expert opinion to back this up.

"Over the last three years, we have discounted over 1,500 incidents as non-human related.

"The police have said that they will continue to investigate incidents where there is clear evidence of human involvement.

“Our priority at the moment is the victim’s families and we will release a further statement in due course.”