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Trouble on the Antichrist beat
Tustin, California, lies on the far southeastern edge of the Los Angeles sprawl. Last fall, a number of Tustin cats were found dead. They had been mutilated.
Being the Halloween season, the cats were said by some to have been sacrificial victims of satanic rituals.
Not so, said Orange County Animal Control officers. New home construction in the foothills had destroyed habitat for the small animals the area's coyotes preyed upon. The coyotes had turned to Tabby's Tiggers, Toms, and Muffys for sustenance.
Nonsense, said the anti-satanists. Satanists were doing diabolical deeds.
The county was forced to conduct autopsies on more than a hundred cats. The evidence was consistent with the coyote hypothesis.
The anti-satanists were not convinced.
Meanwhile, reporters had a wonderful time.
"To date, cats killed by coyotes are still being found," writes David Alexander in The Humanist, "but since it is no longer Halloween the media have little interest. It was a perfect Halloween story and received plenty of air time, with the animal control office's correct explanation only occasionally being included - and even …