Concerns have been raised over the safety of pets following suspected poisoning incidents in Co Antrim in recent days.
It is understood that three cats died in suspicious circumstances last week in the Burnside area of Newtownabbey.
The sudden deaths were reported to the PSNI and a council-led investigation is ongoing.
Commenting on November 13, a PSNI spokesperson said: “Police received a report of the death of two cats in the Ballyclare area last week.
“This matter is being examined by the council’s Animal Welfare Officer.”
In a statement to the Newtownabbey Times on November 14, a spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said: “The council’s Animal Welfare Service can confirm that on Friday, November 10, a member of the public reported a suspected poisoning of cats in the Ballyclare area.
“The council’s Animal Welfare Officers are still investigating this matter to establish the facts and identify any offences under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.
“As this is an ongoing investigation, the council is not providing any further comments at this stage.”
All three cats, Mischa, Lillie and Oscar, belonged to the same family in the Burnside area.
Commenting on the incidents, the family said: “We as a family are broken hearted. We are willing to work with anyone who has issues with the cats to resolve any problems. Please think carefully before harming someone’s pet and giving them a slow and painful death.”
A local animal rights campaigner, who wished to remain anonymous added: “This development is very concerning. As far as I am aware, no other animals in the area have been poisoned at the moment, but everyone has been told and neighbours are keeping cats inside until further investigation.
“I have also been notified about other suspected cat poisoning incidents from across Co Antrim, including in Crumlin, Parkgate and Ballymena.
“I would urge pet owners to remain vigilant and to report any incidents immediately to their local Animal Welfare Officer and the PSNI.”