The Schenectady County SPCA is offering $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the person responsible for the cat found nailed to a tree in Schenectady’s Steinmetz Park on Wednesday.
The cat was found around 3:45 p.m. by teenagers off a trail in the park. The teens notified a parent, who then called police.
“We’re just hoping that the reward may break something loose on the case,” David Dean, investigator with the SPCA, told members of the press Saturday at the park.
Dean said the SPCA is working with the Schenectady Police Department in its investigation of the incident. So far, it is unknown how exactly the cat died. Dean said the type of charges filed would depend on whether the cat died before or after being nailed to the tree .
“I really don’t have anything to make an opinion on at this point, but that’s going to be a big piece of the puzzle,” he said. “If the animal suffered, it was alive and suffered during this act, we would be able to charge them under one of the Buster’s Law crimes. The penalty would be over a year in jail.”
Police have ordered a necropsy on the animal to help determine cause of death. Dean said the results may be in early next week.
The owner of the cat has not been identified.
Dean said the act concerns him regardless of the necropsy results.
“I truly believe, and it’s been proven, these are gateway crimes and there could be a certain psychology to this where that person is dangerous or is going to be dangerous down the road,” he said. “That’s why we want to get right on it. Schenectady police put a lot of resources on it; we’ve offered to put resources into it. I feel extremely confident that we’ll find out who the offender is.”
The SPCA will be offering manpower in the investigation, as well as its records of previous cases, Dean said.
In a news release, the SPCA said the incident “immediately brings to mind” the torture of a cat in Schenectady in 1997 that spurred the creation of Buster’s Law, which made it a felony to cause serious injury to a pet.
Dean said there are efforts underway to expand that law, including the creation of an animal cruelty database similar to the state’s sex offender registry, “because so many of these animal crimes have ramifications as the offenders get older and more complex.”
He called this type of crime “very rare.”
“We’ve had some gruesome animal crimes which are all terrible, but there’s kind of a desperate screaming out here to draw attention,” he said. “It’s particularly gruesome, it’s in this beautiful park abutted by beautiful family homes. So it’s a major cause of concern.”
The SPCA has set up a tip line at 755-9517.
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Categories: News, Schenectady County