After the horrific killing of Chip the rabbit in Leavsden, animal owners are being warned to keep their pets safe.

Harriet Mitchell, 32, found her grey pet headless in her back garden on Tuesday.

The pet was her four-year-old daughter Maisie's "best friend".

READ MORE: Cat killer strikes in Watford

But she was sickened to learn the pet had been savaged by the so-called 'M25 animal killer'.

Since 2014, a depraved person has been breaking into people's homes and murdering their cats and rabbits.

At the start of October, another rabbit was found dead, locked in his garden in Oxhey Park.

If you have to go through the traumatic experience of finding your animal dead, how do you tell whether they were killed by a human?

Tony Jenkins, who runs South Norwood Animal Rescue (SNARL), which has teamed up with the police to find the killer, gave this advice.

"If you find your pet headless, you can usually tell if it's been killed by a fox or a human.

"Foxes generally take the whole body, if they go to the trouble of breaking into a rabbit hutch for instance, it's because they are hungry so will take the whole body.

"A fox will also bite the head, so blood will squirt out, leaving blood and traces of fur around.

"But if it's a human killing, there's no signs of blood."

So what can you do to keep your pets safe?

  •  Lock your doors
  •  If you've got a rabbit hutch, padlock it
  •  Check your cats are outside regularly, and if you are out, ask a neighbour to keep an eye out
  •  Ensure you have a cat flap, so your pet can run inside if it feels threatened
  •  Have your pet microchipped and buy a GPS collar
    • Install security lights, CCTV cameras or dummy cameras, and have a sign warning people they're being filmed
    • Have your cat neutered to reduce how far they want to roam