(Daily Mail By MEGHAN KENEALLY) – People heard unusual screeching sounds and whiffed the scent of an odd meal in the California neighbourhood of Oildale before they knew something was awry.
Jason Wilmert, 36, was arrested for allegedly skinning, killing and grilling stray cats.
He is being held in Kern County jail on two charges- cruelty to animals and the rather uncommonly-cited charge of eating an animal commonly kept as a pet or companion.
Neighbours were shocked when they found the root of the mysterious smells and noises coming out of Wilmert’s one-storey home.
‘I heard a cat cry really, really loud,’ said neighbour Joe Nuno.
‘And I came outside, because I’m an animal lover.’
‘The lady right here saw him holding a tail, skinning it. It is still alive.’
Mr Nuno said that he pieced the situation together when he saw that Wilmert was ‘cooking, he’s got a little burner going’ and he smelled ‘awful meat’.
Police began investigating the situation recently, going door-to-door in the area and asking if anyone’s pets had gone missing.
So far they have heard no reports of missing animals, which has led them to believe that he was killing strays.
Another neighbour had seen him lighting fires in his backyard but that had never raised any warning flags in the past.
‘I’ve seen him burning stuff in the backyard but no suspicions,’ said Steven Poe.
‘I would never had assumed anything like that.’
‘I saw him buy a case of beer so if you can afford a case of Natural Life you can get some top ramen.’
Police have only cited cases involving cats, but another neighbour had a sneaking suspicision that Wilmert had an odd relationship with animals because of the way he interacted with his dog.
‘He’d just stare at my dog, just stare at it, and it makes me nervous,’ said Steven Smith.
‘I’d tell him to stop but he’s like “I aint doing nothing, I;m just looking,”.’
Police were also shocked by the finding, and sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt said he has ‘never seen anything like this’.