NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD is searching for a person caught on camera leaving a sealed bucket on the street — with a malnourished cat inside.
On Sunday night, CBS2’s Reena Roy learned this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.
Surveillance video shows a man casually placing a bucket near a public garbage can in SoHo, as if its trash. But inside was a terrified black cat.
“I think that’s so sad,” resident Darya Safavi said. “If he didn’t want them, he could’ve put them in a shelter.”
“I think that’s mean,” resident Brian Jamont added. “Some people just can’t take care of cats, unfortunately.”
Police said the bucket was left at the corner of Centre and Hester streets near Animal Haven Shelter on Thursday just before 8 p.m. A staff member came to the rescue as he was leaving work.
“He went near and heard a cat hiss, so he brought it back in. He had to pry it open. He finally got it open and there was a black cat,” Animal Haven Shelter director Mika Ito said.
Ito said the cat, now nicknamed “Charlie,” is clearly traumatized and has some wounds.
“Charlie, though, has a few marks on his face, which may or may not be injuries or , you know, it could be something from a disease,” Ito said.
It was a disturbing and shocking incident, but unfortunately not the first. The shelter said another cat was abandoned in a sealed bucket in the same area last month. That time was also caught on camera. A 1-year-old tabby was found peering out of a hole in the lid.
“It’s obviously very distressing,” Ito said. “If you think of the possible motive, it’s just very, very, very scary.”
It’s unclear if the same man is behind both incidents, but the shelter is now reminding anyone thinking of giving up an animal to do so humanely.
“We just want this individual to be arrested for what is animal cruelty and abandonment,” Ito said. “Shelters are here to accommodate people who can’t keep their pets.”
As for the cats, the tabby nicknamed “Sage” was in good condition and has found a new permanent home. Charlie will be getting a full medical exam and will likely be available for adoption soon.