According to an emailed statement by a New York Police Department (NYPD) representative, an investigation is currently underway by the Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad following allegations of animal abandonment at Industry City* after approximately 20 cats were removed from Sunset Park to Leif Ericson Park in Bay Ridge and Marine Park where they were left without shelter or food. An opossum was also caged without food or water for two days.
Squashed Exterminating was hired by Sunset Park management after a flea infestation was found in the basement area of several buildings in the complex. Mac Weinles, the manager of the Brownsville-based exterminating company, said baited cages were placed around the problem area and the trapped cats were moved with no plan in place to care for them. This action falls under animal cruelty laws set by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.
Industry City tenant Mariana Nuziale, a certified trap-neuter-return caretaker, has been working with Brooklyn Animal Action caring for the colony and overseeing the spay/neuter process. Mariana administered an oral flea killer in the cat food and was troubled when the exterminating company said the cats were relocated due to fleas.
In an interview with dnainfo.com Kathleen O’Malley, director of trap-neuter-return education at the initiative stated
“The ideal outcome of this whole situation is that the cats will be brought back. Cats are very territorial and when they’re not in their accustomed territory it puts them at risk for starvation and illness.”
Andrew Kimball, the CEO of Industry City, apologized for any unintended harm and says he will work with caretakers and New York State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal to return the cats and work out a long-term plan for the colony.
Spokeswoman Lisa Serbaniewicz reported Industry City is cooperating with the investigation. A misdemeanor charge can result in a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000 if prosecuted.
*Industry City (formerly Bush Terminal) is a historic intermodal shipping, warehousing, and manufacturing complex on the waterfront in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City.