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Feral Cats Disappearing In Astoria, Queens

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Stray cats are vanishing at an alarming rate in Astoria, Queens, residents say.

As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, Mary Witty and her neighbors had cared since 2008 for a colony of feral cats — eight in all. But in December, seven of them disappeared.

Witty has brought the lone survivor inside her home for protection.

“I do think these cats are being poisoned or something,” Witty told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

Witty has dubbed the missing cats the “Astoria 7.” She created a website and Facebook page showing all their pictures and asking for help.

LINK: Astoria 7 Website | Astoria 7 Facebook | Astoria 7 Twitter

She soon learned that dozens of other cats were disappearing all over Astoria.

“In one case, a woman reported she had been caring for 11, and over the Christmas holidays, the cats went down to four,” Witty said.

Astoria resident Mary Paul said two stray cats she cared for haven’t been seen for more than a month.

Witty said she’s called the ASPCA and police, but no one has taken action.

As of Jan. 1, the ASPCA handed off responsibility for animal abuse cases to the NYPD. But the police department doesn’t have a division designated to fight crimes against animals.

“During that transition, I just assume things are a little rocky,” Witty said. “Because complaints are not being handled in at least the way I think they should be.”

The NYPD said it was called in December and determined at the time that there was no criminality. Officers visited Witty’s home Monday to see if circumstances have changed, but she wasn’t home, police said.

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