The shocking slayings of a number of cats in Kennewick has citizens wondering, and Police investigating.

Sadly, the killing of animals is not unusual, but it's the manner in which these cats are being slain.  At least 7 felines have been found either mutilated or even cut half. Social media has been rampant with rumors and theories, some of which are not helping clear the picture.

We spoke with Sgt. Clem of the Kennewick Police Department Thursday and asked about what they know.  He said "several tips" have been received from members of the public, they are being looked at. He also confirmed that the man people refer to as The Joker because of his face paint is "one of several suspects being looked at" in the case.

This person is Lance Smith, who has been seen by many around town wearing make up like The Joker in the Batman movies. He has a public Facebook page, which contains a variety of images of him in the garb.

Police emphasize he is one of a number of persons being looked at, and in no way are they indicating they are leaning in his direction or any other.

Smith, who has been seen roaming Kennewick with The Joker facepaint, was recently arrested on a violation of a protection order.  This was confirmed by Police. It is in NO way connected to the cat slaying issue. According to reports, Smith has allegedly been stalking a former female co worker from a job that was a number of years ago.

Lance Smith The Joker (youtube still image)

There are also numerous reports that Smith may suffer from some mental issues which affect his behavior, but Police did not comment on that. We do know that he is one of several cat situation suspects, but is in jail on the alleged protection order violation charge.

If anyone does have any information they would like to share with police, they can call (509)-628-0333. All leads can be confidential.