YONKERS (LoHud.com) – Three of the 25 cats found in plastic bags hanging from trees off Overlook Terrace on Thursday were killed with blows to the head, an investigator said Friday.
Ernest Lungaro of the Westchester County SPCA said tests on the three felines revealed blunt trauma to the head. He said a baseball bat, two shovels and a metal pipe were found in the area and collected as evidence; it was not known if they had been used as weapons.
Some of the remains were recent while others were skeletons that may have been there for up to a year. He said he didn't know if other necropsies would be done because of the decay.
Lungaro said the killings would be treated as animal cruelty, a felony. He also said the killings were not connected with a case of cat poisonings that occurred in northern Yonkers last year.
Yonkers police are assisting with the investigation.
"At this point there is nothing obviously found at the scene that this is ritualistic, but the investigation is still ongoing," Yonkers Detective Lt. Patrick McCormack said.
City Department of Public Works employee Brett Pisano found the remains while he and co-workers were cleaning garbage Thursday morning in the woods off Overlook Terrace.
Pisano said he knew something was wrong when he saw all the bags hanging from a tree. As he got closer he could see the cats hanging out of the plastic bags and there were skeletal remains of other cats on the ground, he told The Journal News on Friday.
Workers said there was virtually no smell of the dead animals when they made the find.
Overlook Terrace is a dead-end street off Locust Hill Avenue. The cats were found inside a fenced-in wooded area. The fencing had been cut open. DPW workers said Friday that every spring they clean massive amounts of garbage at the same spot.
Reacting Thursday to the gruesome find, some residents said they weren't surprised the cats were found in that location.
"That place is always dirty so when you see a bag there, it's nothing new," said Guy John, 49, who lives across the street from the woods. "You see rats running out of there. It looks like a race ... Sometimes you confuse the rats for the cats."
Yonkers police are asking anyone with information to call 914-377-7724. Tips also can be left anonymously by texting "YPD," typing the tip and 847-411.
Residents also can call the SPCA's Animal Cruelty Hotline at 914-941-7797.
Staff writer Hoa Nguyen contributed to this report.