Aug. 28, 2014 By Michael Florio
A stray cat was found dead on an Astoria Street Sunday with its “ribs smashed,” cement lodged in its throat and cuts to its tail.
The cat was found by a resident on 21st Avenue, between 33rd and 35th Streets, just before midnight. Paul Santell, a cat lover, made the grisly discovery.
The police are now investigating the incident and are in talks with Santell, who reported the crime.
Santell, who was releasing a stray cat in the area Sunday night, said he saw a group of five or six men in a circle where the dead cat was later found. While he did not see the men actually do anything to a cat, he said their behavior was suspicious.
Santell described the group as ‘neighborhood punk types,’ and felt wary releasing the cat he had near them.
“They were laughing, joking and moving their arms around… being very loud, almost as if they were celebrating,” Santell said.
When Santell was about to release his cat, a woman who feeds another colony of cats came running over screaming, “I think it’s one of my cats, he’s dead,” according to Santell.
Santell said he knew the dead cat, which he had named Bobby.
“He looked like he belonged to someone at one point,” he said. “He didn’t move as fast as the other feral cats, and was much more trusting.”
Santell said Bobby would often meow at him and cry for food, and even tried following him home once.
“He was very sweet,” he said.
Santell said he will be is meeting with detectives and is hopeful they will use security cameras to catch those responsible.
The ASPCA is examining the cat’s body.
“This makes me sick to my stomach,” he said. “They were torturing one of the cats, and seemed to be having a great time doing so. It’s disgusting.”
Santell and other residents distributed fliers on Tuesday, which offers a reward for information that leads to an arrest.