The remains of at least 30 cats have been found in plastic bags hanging from a tree in New York state.
Employees from the Department of Public Works, who were clearing rubbish from an abandoned lot in the city of Yonkers, found the decomposing animals late Thursday morning.
Their bodies had been jammed into plastic bags and either hung from the limbs of the tree or strewn around its base base in a possible ritualistic display, Vocactiv reported.
“They were placed in small shopping bags, the plastic bags that you might get from an A&P or a ShopRite, and then they were hung from a tree,” Ernie Lungaro, director of humane law enforcement at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), told the news website.
“Some were severely decomposed. We got a couple that were still fresh, within the last few weeks maybe.”
Necropsies carried out on three of the moggy victims revealed that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, Vocactiv reported on Friday. Bats, shovels and other heavy objects were also found in the vicinity of the dead cats.
The SPCA and local police are still investigating the incident, but it appears that the feline corpses were placed at the scene over a number of months. Investigators expressed surprise that no one had previously noticed the cat graveyard.
“It’s very strange. There’s a house next door and there are residences across the street. It’s a well-travelled little vacant lot,” SPCA’s executive director, Shannon Laukhuf, told Vocatciv.
“There’s a path that runs down to the businesses. Clearly, people have walked that path pretty often. It’s hard to believe that someone didn't notice something. The smell of decomposition is overwhelming.”
She added: “We’ve never really seen anything like this. What’s so disturbing is the way the cats were hung in bags and arranged. This is obviously the work of someone very deranged.”
Lieutenat Patrick McCormack told the Daily Voice there was no evidence to support the theory that the cats were the victims of ritualistic behaviour.