TUMWATER, Wash. -- The national spotlight is now on the effort to find whoever is killing and mutilating cats in Thurston County, Wash.
The Humane Society of the U.S. says catching this person is so important they just added $5,000 to the reward so it's now up to $20,000.
"Wow, that's a lot of money," said Martha Arenas of Lacey. She found the first cats on two consecutive Sundays in late January and early February. "The remains were all kind of even lined up which made it even more creepy."
More mutilated remains have been found in Tumwater and West Olympia --seven total, so far. It has prompted the Humane Society to elevate the effort to find whoever is doing this.
"That speaks to the importance of how big of an issue this is," said Arenas.
"This case resonates with so many people on so many different levels," said Erika Johnson, animal cruelty investigator with Thurston Joint Animal Services. "You don't even have to be cat lover for this story to bother you."
They are hoping the big money will kick loose some leads as to who's doing this.
"We're glad that there haven't been any further victims," said Johnson. "Obviously we want to try to get somebody behind bars before there is another victim."
"Sounds like a sicko," said neighbor Zane Smith. "Sounds like he really needs to be caught."
Neighborhood watch groups are being formed to do foot patrols trying to keep their cats safe with the concern that the cat killer might escalate.
"What my worry is that he's so sick that he gets tired of doing it to cats and kind of wants to do it to people," Smith said. "And that's horrible..."
The animal cruelty investigators say the cat killer seems to work in spurts. There are no new cases in the last week. They believe the mutilator is lying low because of all of the media attention.