A Middle Village pet rescue group saved more than 30 cats from a Woodhaven building last month after discovering that a cleaning crew allegedly hired by the landlord threw several cats out of a second-floor apartment window.
PuppyKittyNYC, a volunteer-based rescue group that focuses on aiding sick, injured, and abandoned cats, rescued 34 cats from inside and outside of the two-story building, located at 80-44 Jamaica Ave., on Thursday, Jan. 25.
According to PKNYC President Meagan Licari, the rescue started after the group received a message on Instagram of an abandoned cat being kicked and hit with a broom in front of the building.
When rescue group volunteers arrived on the scene, they found the sickly cat, sitting in a flowerpot out front. Furthermore, they discovered about 15 additional cats left abandoned on the avenue and nearby streets.
Video footage captured by volunteers on Instagram shows cats running along awnings, hiding in businesses, and attempting to run away as rescuers try to capture them outside.
However, rescuers discovered about 15 more cats once PKNYC made their way inside the second-floor apartment that was covered in filth and in disarray. Licari said rescuers found the cats hiding in and behind kitchen sink cabinets as well as huddled up behind a refrigerator. She said they were in a frightened state.
One of the cats saved as part of the rescue needed emergency surgery costing roughly $5,000, Licari told QNS. The injured cat, named Legend, was already deformed—with its back legs missing. Since his rescue, he has needed to take four separate medications daily.
“It’s truly amazing. He survived with no back legs and managed to get out of the apartment. So we’re not sure how that happened. It’d be shocking if he jumped, but maybe he did because he was just terrified,” Licari said.
According to Licari, the landlord of the apartment evicted the previous tenant on Jan. 4 — meaning the cats were left to fend for themselves for weeks. An eviction notice on the door of the apartment also indicated that the NY Sheriff’s office visited the property, but the cats were left to fend for themselves. It’s believed the former tenant was a hoarder, based on the conditions of the apartment inside.
The rescue groups want to hold the landlord and the city accountable for the neglect of the cats and the cost of taking in the famished felines.
“Part of the problem is that the city really should be footing the bill, because it’s a city problem,” said Licari. “There were multiple 311 complaints. The Marshal went there, they knew there were animals there. The city should have been more involved and they should be paying.”
The group is looking at a bill estimated at upwards of $30,000 to take care of the cats, given the cost of vaccinations, food, medicine, and other pet care essentials, according to financial records provided by Licari.
PKNYC wasn’t able to keep all of the rescued cats and gave nine to the Animal Care Centers of New York.
“We brought nine cats that day to ACC because we’re a small place. We couldn’t fit them and we couldn’t leave them in the apartment. So we did bring nine cats there.”
Licari says one of the 34 cats was very sick and had to be euthanized. The other 33 are in stable condition and are being taken care of.
The rescue organizations, while getting some assistance from local elected officials and the NYPD, say they need additional help and have launched an online fundraiser through Cuddly, a platform allowing animal rescue organizations to raise funds. The proceeds will help PKNYC and other organizations take care of the rescued cats. The organizations are also accepting gifts.
A list of rescue groups and individuals taking care of the cats can also found on the Cuddly website.
QNS could not reach the landlord for comment.