Dead cats were found hanging from a tree’s branches in Yonkers. Each bag contained one cat. Wildlife appeared to have ripped open five of the 30 plastic bags. The contents inside fell to the ground and was devoured leaving only scattered bones.
From a distance, the hanging bags failed to rouse any suspicion from local residents. The wooded area is used as a dumping ground. Plastic water containers, empty liquor bottles, and other debris litter the area.
Police considered it odd that no one noticed the strong odor coming from the area containing the dead cats. The tree’s location in the woods near Overlook Terrace is close to residential areas, an Amtrak station, and businesses.
City sanitation workers performing an annual cleanup of the area discovered the remains of the 30 dead cats. For now, it is too early to determine how all the cats died. One theory could be the owner killed them due to a lack of want. The more likely scenario is that the cats were murdered for sport and hung on the tree branches as trophies. Animal autopsies known as necropsies are planned for all of the dead cats. So far, three of the felines died of blunt force trauma to the head.
Ernest Lungaro, the SPCA director of Westchester’s Humane Law Enforcement Division, only smelled a slight stench when he examined the crime scene. When he examined the tree the animal remains in woods off of Yonkers’ Overlook Terrace, the neatly tied trash bags dangling from a tree reminded him of hanging laundry.
Lungaro found the scene disturbing. The cats were of various stages decomposition. Each bag appeared to have contained one feline. The dead cats appeared to have died prior to being placed into bags. There were no claw marks indicating an attempt to escape. Local wildlife appeared to have ripped open five of the bags, spilling the contents to the ground and consuming the remains.
Given a large feral cat population in Yonkers, the animals probably came from that population. There were no reports of any of the felines wearing collars or their front claws removed. Further tests will determine if the animals were feral or domesticated.
Lieutenant Patrick McCormack commented that he has encountered dead cats placed within plastic bags left along the street or at other locations. In his time as a policeman in Yonkers, he has never encountered plastic bags containing the remains of 30 dead cats neatly hanging from tree branches.
In 2013, there were reports by residents living in northeast Yonkers who found dead cats and wildlife. These animals appeared to have been poisoned.
Local residents did not sound surprised when they learned the news. Guy John said the woods off Overlook Terrace are always dirty. Seeing bags there was nothing new. Large rats live in the area and are often confused for cats.
There are no current leads on who killed the animals. Anyone with information can contact detectives or the cruelty hotline for SPCA. The person or persons responsible for the deaths of 30 dead cats and then hanging them inside plastic bags from a tree’s branches in Yonkers will face animal cruelty charges when apprehended.
By Brian T. Yates