When residents of Ridgewood heard that there were dozens of cats trapped inside of an apartment building, they came together to try and save the abandoned felines before even more of them were injured or killed.
Over the weekend, local rescuers went to the three-story building at 778 Onderdonk Ave., which is presently under construction, in an attempt to lure out some of the approximately 40 cats they believe were trapped in the rubble. According to one of the rescuers, Becky Bernazal, the previous tenant of the third floor unit ditched the cats when she was offered a buyout on her apartment in early July.
Construction began shortly after she left, Bernazal said, adding that “the construction people were working for almost three weeks with the cats in there.”
“We found out from workers doing demolition there,” Dolores Benefatti, a resident of Madison Street in Ridgewood who aided in the rescue effort, told QNS in a phone interview on Wednesday. “The neighborhood people found out from passing by and they heard cries, and one person saw a cat jump out of a dumpster. We went in [to the building] with lanterns one night and that’s when we discovered this whole mess.”
After rescuing several of the cats on their own, Benefatti reached out to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) for help removing the scared, emaciated, and injured cats and finding them homes, but to no avail.
“It’s been a horror,” she said.
Now, Animal Care & Control (ACC) is overseeing the rescue efforts.
“Animal control has taken over,” Benefatti explained. “They got one cat on Monday and five cats [Tuesday]. They set traps and will come back [on Wednesday] to get more.”