The New York Police Department said it is investigating two incidents involving cats being abandoned inside sealed buckets in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood.
According to ABC7, a video shows a man leaving a sealed bucket that contained a cat near a garbage can in front of Animal Haven on Hester and Centre streets in Little Italy last week. The man then went north on Centre Street.
View this post on Instagram
SOMEONE DUMPED ANOTHER CAT IN A BUCKET, and we need your help. You may remember when we recently found Sage, a young cat, sealed in a bucket and abandoned outside our shelter. Around 7:45pm yesterday, we found another bucket left next to the public trash can with a cat inside, as if left for garbage. Luckily one of our staff members recognized the bucket, brought it inside and pried it open. This poor kitty is in bad shape and, needless to say, is terrified. We have contacted the police, but we're asking that everyone in the vicinity of our shelter in Soho PLEASE keep your eyes out for any suspicious buckets or containers like the ones in these photos! If anyone recognizes the person in this video, contact us immediately. And if you are ever desperate to surrender an animal, please reach out to us directly.
The suspect is described as an Asian male who was wearing jeans, a sweater, and dark-colored shoes.
A similar incident occurred on Nov. 17, when a worker found a plastic bucket near the trash close to the shelter’s door. A cat was seen peeking out of a hole in the bucket before it was brought inside.
There have been “two buckets and both were sealed,” Tiffany Lacey, who heads the animal shelter Animal Haven, told HuffPost. “Each one had a cat in them and both cats are safely at Animal Haven now. They were left to go out with the trash and were only found because they seemed suspicious,” she said.
In the most recent incident, the shelter said, “We found another bucket left next to the public trash can with a cat inside, as if left for garbage. Luckily one of our staff members recognized the bucket, brought it inside and pried it open.”
We don't generally post animal crime stories, but we are posting this one because the case is still active and other…
“This poor kitty is in bad shape and, needless to say, is terrified. We have contacted the police, but we’re asking that everyone in the vicinity of our shelter in Soho PLEASE keep your eyes out for any suspicious buckets or containers like the ones in these photos,” the group said.
Regarding the first incident last month, “Staff isn’t left speechless that often anymore but when morning kennel went to move what appeared to be just an empty bucket on the side of our building near the back door, they were shocked to see a tiny eye looking back up at them. Yes, believe it or not but someone left an innocent cat in a bucket outside our door overnight. Luckily the sweet thing who we have named Sage is safe and sound now but we can only imagine how scary the ordeal must have been,” according to Gothamist.
Putting the cats in sealed buckets could have killed the animals if nobody found them.
“The buckets snap shut tight,” a shelter worker told HuffPost. “You can’t just pop [them] open. We had to use pliers. There is no way a cat could escape.”
Locals told CBS New York that it’s a bad situation.
“I think that’s so sad,” resident Darya Safavi told the station. “If he didn’t want them, he could’ve put them in a shelter.”
“I think that’s mean,” resident Brian Jamont said. “Some people just can’t take care of cats, unfortunately.”
The shelter said it’s not clear if the same man is behind both incidents, according to the CBS report.
“We just want this individual to be arrested for what is animal cruelty and abandonment,” shelter worker Mika Ito said. “Shelters are here to accommodate people who can’t keep their pets.”
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).