Mich. juveniles investigated in cat torture and killings

TOKYO - JANUARY 20: A cat lies at Nekorobi cat cafe on January 20, 2009 in Tokyo, Japan. Cat cafes, where people can spend time with their favorite cat for about 10 US dollars an hour, are now getting more popular with people living in urban areas. The regular customers are mainly in their 20's to 30's and seaking healing by cats, or people who cannot afford to have pets full time. Some visiters come to the cat cafe three times a week. (Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)
Junko Kimura
A cat in Climax, Mich., where authorities say there's been a string of torture and killings of other pet cats in recent months, and juveniles are being sought in the attacks.

(CBS/AP) CLIMAX, Mich. - A group of juveniles are considered persons of interest in the beating and killing of cats in Kalamazoo County.

PHOTOS: Crimes against animals (GRAPHIC IMAGES)

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that five or more incidents have occurred between March and September in the village of Climax, about 50 miles southeast of Grand Rapids.

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Pali Matyas says cats have been "tortured and abused." He adds that a squirrel was found with duct tape wrapped around its face.

Matyas says the cats have been found in the front yard of a home, the village cemetery and other locations.

The owners of one of the cats that were victimized took their pet to a veterinarian and were told the animal suffered a blunt-force type of beating.

Another pet owner told CBS affiliate WWMT that one cat in particular was skinned, then thrown back in the yard.

Matyas says authorities are concerned because torturing animals is "just very bad and strange behavior," and they are worried that those responsible might hurt kids in the future.