More than 40 cats are holding up the demolition of a Ridgewood, Queens, building until neighbors can coax the creatures out.
Isaac Silberstein, who owns the eight-unit building at 778 Onderdonk Avenue, said he had started bulldozing the property last month and noticed it was filled with cats, the New York Times reported. A previous tenant of a third-floor apartment in the building had hoarded the cats.
“When they opened the walls, they jumped out — cats, baby cats, big ones, you can’t imagine,” Silberstein told the Times. He halted most of the demolition work as a result. “What if there were dead cats in there? Then it would be my problem.”
Neighbors had a different account of events, saying that cats could be seen leaving the building while construction was going on.
“I was shocked,” Carissa Aguirre, who runs A Tail of Two Kitties, a rescue organization in Ridgewood, told the Times. “The neighborhood is going through a lot of changes, and a lot of renovation, but I would never think that professional people would go in there and just start bulldozing with live animals there.”
DNAinfo first reported earlier this week that dozens of cats were found dead, emaciated or injured in the building after demolition had commenced. Parts of cats were also found in the building. The neighbors have since gotten permission from the landlord to rescue the remaining cats before construction continues. [NYT] — Kathryn Brenzel