The NYPD and the Queens District Attorney’s office have launched an investigation after more than a dozen dead cats were discovered in Howard Beach Saturday, March 4.
The cats appeared to have been tossed over a fence along the A train subway line at 102nd Street near 157th Avenue, just south of the Belt Parkway, according to Meagan Licari, the president and founder of the Middle Village nonprofit Puppy Kitty NYC who was called to the location by a woman who lives across the street from the tracks.
“One of the residents is the sister-in-law of a woman who does dog rescues and she contacted me after she was sitting in her car and spotted something furry so she crossed the street and she saw one, then she saw another and more, and more,” Licari told QNS. “So I got there and I said, ‘oh my god, wow, this can’t be real.’ It was truly heartbreaking.”
Licari found the remains of 14 cats, of different ages and breeds and at various stages of decomposition, that she believes were thrown over the chain link fence. Licari called the NYPD and the ASPCA, which will perform necropsies to determine the causes of death.
“I’ve done several of them in the past and it will take a minimum of two weeks,” Licari said. “But since there are so many I imagine it’s going to be a while.”
The ASPCA said in a statement that it was saddened to hear about the situation and “is supporting the NYPD investigation by performing the necropsies on the cats to assist in evidence collection” and determine the causes of death.
Councilwoman Joann Ariola, who was raised in Howard Beach, was furious when she learned of the grisly discovery.
“This is a horrific example of human cruelty,” Ariola said. “Mark my words, whoever committed these heinous actions will be caught and they will be prosecuted. No living creature should be made to suffer like this, and this kind of behavior is exactly why we have animal cruelty laws on the books.”
Licari came to the aid of three injured stray cats who were discovered in Richmond Hill two weeks earlier.
“I got a call from an independent dog rescuer who found these hurt and injured cats and asked me if I would take them on because it’s a complicated medical case,” Licari said. “One had such severe injuries to her paws that she needed to be euthanized, and the other two are doing really well.”
The cats appeared to have suffered acid burns and other signs of torture. They are still in an animal hospital under Licari’s care.
“Juliette is the first one to be rescued and all four paws were affected,” Licari said. “She’s healing really nicely and she’s starting to be more comfortable around humans. And there’s Claire — her back paws were affected and she’s still pretty scared and aggressive and lashing out, but she’ll get there.”
The Queens District Attorney’s office confirmed with QNS that the Howard Beach and Richmond Hill cases are being investigated by its Animal Cruelty Prosecutions Unit.
Meanwhile, Licari admits the discoveries in recent weeks have taken a toll on her.
“It’s been horrible,” she said.
For more information, or to make a donation, visit the Puppy Kitty NYC website here.