Five major animal rights organizations have offered a reward totaling $23,250 to help find the killer(s) of the dead cats found hanging from trees in Yonkers, New York. The ASPCA, HSUS and PETA each offered $5,000, the Animal Legal Defense Fund along with Alley Cat Allies offered $5,750 and In Defense of Animals offered $2,500.
25 cats were discovered hanging from a bunch of trees in Yonkers on April 24, 2014 by sanitation workers. The dead cats had been placed in black plastic bags, which were tied neatly and strung from trees. Investigators determined the cats' skulls had been bashed in before being placed in the bags. Police have multiple leads but no arrests have been made.
“All of us at the SPCA of Westchester are deeply appalled by this depraved act of animal cruelty. I want to assure the public that we will use every resource available to us to bring those responsible to swift justice,” said Shannon Laukhuf, executive director of the SPCA of Westchester.
While there is only speculation as to the motive, there had been some tension in the neighborhood regarding people feeding and taking care of a feral cat community. Police have not confirmed if the dead cats were personal pets or belonged to a feral cat colony.
“We are appalled by the extent of this cruelty to cats and hope that local law enforcement takes this case seriously,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “This community should be on the alert—as studies have conclusively shown a link between violence against animals and violence against humans. If anyone has information about the individual responsible we urge you to come forward.”
Police found a baseball bat, metal pipe and two shovels at the scene. Though it is unclear as to whether these items were used to crush the cats' heads, they were confiscated as evidence.
“The sick and twisted nature of these heinous killings and ritualistic crime scene indicates what a danger the perpetrator is to all of us,” said Eric Phelps, Emergency Response Unit Coordinator for IDA. “Someone knows who did this, and he or she will be serving the entire community by stepping forward.”
If you have any information about the killings, please call the SPCA of Westchester Hotline at 914-941-7797.
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