Famous Beijing park investigates mysterious deaths of stray cats, steps up patrols

Authorities at a famous Beijing park say they're investigating the mysterious deaths of stray cats in recent weeks.

A park spokesman said Sunday that the Temple of Heaven park has stepped up patrols in an effort to prevent more deaths and carcasses from being dumped inside. Dozens of protesters, however, rallied outside the park, accusing park authorities of killing the cats.

The spokesman, who gave only his surname, Xing, denied that the park has been killing the cats. He said he didn't know how many dead cats had been found, and that it was unclear whether they had died inside or outside the park.

The park is a UNESCO heritage site where emperors in the Ming and Qing dynasties offered sacrifices.