Suspect and victims identified in double murder; standoff

Neighbors: Man Brags About Killing Cats

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MUSKEGON, Mich. – Several people in a Muskegon neighborhood claim that a man who lives in the area has bragged on several occasions about killing cats. They said he sets traps for them in his front yard.

FOX 17 was contacted by a woman who said she’s concerned about how many pets have gone missing in the Lakeside neighborhood. She pointed us to the Facebook page ‘Fans of Lakeside Neighborhood in Muskegon.’ There, several people posted about the traps they’ve observed in Craig Harpe’s yard, who lives on Blodgett Street.

A concerned pet owner, who doesn’t want to be identified, said Harpe threatened to kill her dog as she was walking her down the street in front of his home.

“I said you cannot shoot my dog it’s against the law. He said ‘oh no, I don’t shoot them, I’ll use a baseball bat and beat them to death.’ He told me he’s killed 14 dogs in the past 30 years that he has lived there.”

She said the incident prompted her to file a police report.

Other nearby neighbors claim they’ve also heard the man bragging about killing cats.

We contacted Harpe about the allegations. Although he admitted to making  these statements, he said he’s never actually harmed any cats or dogs.

“I don’t bait cats. I’m not trying to trap cats, and I don’t kill cats,” Harpe said.

The traps, Harpe said, are for racoons, squirrels and possums. He said over the years, squirrels have destroyed his home and he pointed to a hole where he said they nest. He said that he uses live traps and releases the animals into the wild.

“Where everybody’s getting confused, they think I’m taking their pets out here,” Harpe said. “I’m not.”

While in the neighborhood, another person flagged us down, who told us he’s also concerned about the purpose of Harpe’s traps.

“I personally witnessed a cat trapped and I saw him take the cat from the trap, take it into his garage and never came back out with the cat,” Derek Wilson said. “People are very, very upset and very concerned.”

Harpe said people have been stopping by his house for the past few days and that they’ve confronted him about the traps. He said the signs   placed in the neighborhood, as a warning to others, have ruined his reputation.

“I’m going to press charges and then I want her to go on the internet again and publicly apologize to me and straighten out that I don’t kill cats,” Harpe said.

Still, the woman who said Harpe threatened her dog, tells FOX 17, she’s not convinced.

“He seemed to be quite proud about it and talked a lot about how that was his property line and no one should cross over it,” she said.

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  • Unconcerned Neighbor

    These stories are absolutely ridiculous!!!! My family has lived on the same block as the Harpe's for 20+ years, and although Craig is brash and thoughtless in his speech sometimes, he is a good man and I do not believe for one second he has ever killed any cats or dogs. Might he have told a woman who continues to let her dog use his yard as a toilet that if she doesn't keep her dog off his property he'll take a bat to it? Yeah, I can see him saying that. Would he really do it? No!

    We have had stray cats running the neighborhood for years and I've watched them come and go without harm. The Harpe's actually have a cat of their own, so this idiot stating he saw Craig carry one into the garage – did it ever dawn on anyone that it might just have been his own pet?!?!

  • Unconcerned Neighbor

    Everyone is so concerned with the number of missing pets, I challenge that there is a rise in lost pets. I think everyone is hyper sensitive because we are more aware of it because of social media. I think it is wonderful that Facebook has been an amazing tool in helping families reunite with their lost pets, but we need to recognize that we are MUCH more aware now than in the past.

    If you are all so concerned about the welfare of pets in the Lakeside area, perhaps you could spend sometime volunteering at Pound Buddies – they rescue cats as well as dogs. Or, if you're just too darn busy, make a donation so they can help make sure that cats are spayed/neutered to stop the amount of homeless pets in our community.

  • Teddy

    Well, we do need to consider that dog fighting ( and the use of bait animals) is on the increase in west Michigan.
    The so called "sport" is migrating from large cities to the east and south west.
    Its possible this guy just spoke out of frustration and the missing pets are victims of someone else

  • Kevin

    I find it amusing that the reporter is quoting this gentleman and misspelled 2 different words in the quotes. Bate (bait) and straiten (straighten). How can you tell when someone is speaking if they're spelling the word wrong from pronunciation? Proof reading is a wonderful thing

  • Neighbor

    I live just down the street from Harpe's, and I agree with the comments above that he is a brash man but he wouldn't purposely hurt an animal. There are a couple things going on here that the public doesn't realize.

    1. There is a MAJOR problem with people in this neighborhood letting their cats and dogs run free. One neighbor cat had a habit of spraying my front door constantly. We had vector control come out and place a trap and take the cat in. (they no longer do this) The family got the cat back, but were fined for letting it loose. This same family lets their tiny dog run the neighborhood because the elderly lady who owns him cant walk him due to her size so she rides up and down the street in her car while the dog runs free. I have almost hit this dog 4 times due to the fact that it is not afraid of cars.
    2. I believe the woman who was showed in the piece with the bigger dog is the daughter of the elderly woman mentioned above who lives across the street. The part about her walking her dog is ridiculous due to the fact I have never seen her walking her dog. I have seen the dog get loose and it runs the neighborhood. But like her mother she has difficulty walking as well, so that dog is NOT being walked.
    3. The war between these individuals I'm sure has gone back many years. They both have lived in the neighborhood for decades.

    I like animals, and it is a shame that this got press due to one lady getting pissy, and Craig shooting off his mouth. I think the signs she posted were a horrible way to attempt to get Craig in trouble. No animals are getting harmed here, but there is a major problem with cats and dogs running loose that needs to be addressed.

    I cant wait to move out of here.

      • steve

        I don't know who you are but you need to know facts before making an opinion of someone! My uncle has done nothing wrong, some upset guy on disability has nothing better to do than to attack someone for doing something completely legal. He has never killed a cat or dog, he has never harmed anyone. He unlike the rest of you people who don't even really know what is happening is a pillar of his community, he has lived on Blodgett for 30+ years and always helps people and children out in his neighborhood. All you people are quick to judge without even knowing facts! Thank god you people are not a judge, we would get life in prison for failing to use a turn signal. Grow up, get your facts and most importantly, shut the hell up!

  • Sam

    So he is not dangerous, he was arrested last night carrying a concealed weapon around the neighborhood. The man is not only a danger to animals but also a danger to people.

  • steve

    " Sam " can go to hell, you don't know crap, if you have a problem, leave me your number and we will meet up, my uncle IS NOT a danger to anyone, I can be though, so, if you want to keep running your mouth, lets meet up! if you are the psycho idiot that started this crap, lets see what you think when I post my uncles lawsuit winnings for slander against you, he sais I can have that house when he takes it from you!!!