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Dead cats in bags hanging from trees stir concern in NYC

AP

About 25 dead cats found in plastic bags hanging from trees in a New York suburb were apparently killed with blows to the head at various times over the past year, an investigator said Friday.

Ernest Lungaro, director of enforcement at the Westchester County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said necropsies on three of the cats revealed blunt trauma to their skulls.

“Pretty disturbing, smashing their heads in and displaying them like that,” he said. “We have found, in the past, cases where cats were poisoned, but we’ve never seen anything where they’re killing them this violently.”

Lungaro said a baseball bat, two shovels and a metal pipe were found near the scene in a wooded area, north of the Bronx. He said investigators are not yet sure that those items were used in the killings.

It also is not known if the killings were the work of one or more people, he said. Either way, they are disturbing because of studies that indicate a link between the killings of animals and violence against people, Lungaro said.

“The sheer number of cats that were killed with blunt trauma to the head, it’s pretty violent,” he said.

Some of the cats were just skeletons and some had been dead only three days, Lungaro said. The necropsies were done on the most recently killed animals.

The strange scene was discovered Thursday by a public works crew doing an annual cleanup. The SPCA was called in and counted 25 bodies, Lungaro said.

“We assume there were probably more than that because raccoons or whatever wildlife probably got to a couple of them,” he said.

He said the necropsies suggest the cats were killed before they were put into bags.

Yonkers police and the SPCA are investigating. Lungaro said some people are being questioned but he would not say whether there is a suspect.