The job of solving crimes is usually one which left up to the police – but sometimes our furry friends can lend a paw.
In this blog we share the stories of five pets who helped solve serious crimes.
1. ‘Larry Bird’ the Cockatoo Helps Solve Murder Mystery
A white-crested cockatoo named “Larry Bird” was enjoying a night in with his owner, Kevin Butler, when two men broke into their home and brutally murdered is owner – binding, beating and stabbing him multiple times.
Like any protective pet, Larry flew to his owner’s defence, swooping in and pecking the attackers. Sadly, one of the men stabbed at Larry with a fork, severing one of his legs and ultimately killing him through a stab wound to his back.
The attackers vanished without a trace, and police were left clueless as to their identity.
But Larry proved instrumental in solving this murder mystery – with investigators collecting a DNA sample from his beak which was matched to one of the killers, 30-year-old Daniel Torres. They were also able to track down Torres’ accomplice and half-brother, 22-year-old Johnny Serna.
During the ensuing trial, the prosecutor submitted to the court that:
‘Bird died valiantly. There were feathers scattered through the house, and he put up a fight, no doubt about that.
Kevin’s family and co-workers have told me that you just didn’t mess with Kevin while that bird was around.’
The jury convicted both defendants of murder.
2. Hero Cat Fends Off Burglars
Bengal cats are one of the most intelligent domestic cat breeds – and 3-year-old Leo is no exception.
The smart kitty fought off a would-be burglar who broke into his owners’ West Sussex home in the middle of the night.
According to his owners, Sue and John Higgins, the intruder entered through the window and scoped out the downstairs living area, before attempting to make his way upstairs.
Unfortunately for the burglar, Leo was snoozing downstairs and quickly sprung into action.
‘Leo came flying through his cat flap, was amazed to see his door open, because it’s never open until the morning, and he came up the stairs, saw this stranger, and meowed like mad…and the burglar came back down and out through the window without taking a thing.’
Although police were unable to catch the thief, Leo was recognised for his bravery and named a Finalist in the Hero Cat Category of the Cats Protection UK 2012 National Cat Awards – a great honour indeed.
3. Cat DNA Used to Crack Criminal Cases
DNA evidence has often been used to make major breakthroughs in criminal cases – but did you know DNA from pet fur can be equally effective?
In 2012, the dismembered body of a man by the name of David Guy washed up on an English beach, wrapped in a curtain. Investigators located several cat hairs on the curtain, which they tested and matched with DNA obtained from a cat owned by the main suspect, David Hilder.
Mr Hilder was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Jon Wetton, a geneticist from the University of Leicester, believes pet DNA has the potential to revolutionise criminal investigations, saying:
‘This could be a real boon for forensic science, as the 10 million cats in the UK are unwittingly tagging the clothes and furnishings in more than a quarter of households.’
4. Scooby Saves the Day
A real-life ‘Scooby Doo’ made history when he took to the witness stand to assist with his owner’s murder trial.
Scooby’s 59-year-old owner was found hanging in her Paris apartment – her death initially presumed to be a suicide. But after the woman’s family asked police to open a murder investigation, a suspect was identified and brought to court for a preliminary hearing.
Scooby then took the stand to face the suspect; barking ‘furiously’ when confronted with the alleged killer. A court monitor recorded Scooby’s barks and ‘general behaviour throughout the cross examination.’
After Scooby gave his evidence, the judge praised him for his ‘exemplary behaviour and invaluable assistance.’
But the defence contended that the dog’s evidence should not be taken seriously. The investigation is continuing.
5. Parrot Names Killer
Parrots are known for being talkative creatures – but an Indian man who robbed and killed his aunt probably wasn’t counting on her pet parrot– a named Heera – to identify him as the assassin.
Ashutosh Goswami held his aunt at knife point and forced her to hand over property, before stabbing her and her dog. Heera witnessed the entire attack and lived to tell the tale.
When investigators spoke with Heera and read through a list of suspects, the bird squawked, ‘Usne maara, usne maara’ – which translates to, ‘he’s the killer, he’s the killer,’ when Ashutosh’s name was read out.
Ashutosh later confessed to the brutal crime.