animals

Neighborhood Cat Mauled to Death After Owners Sic Dogs on NYC Strays, Rescuer Says

One woman said that the owners let the dogs go after the cats, and when one escaped up a tree, they forced it to go back down to be mauled by the canine

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A Brooklyn community is upset after they say two dog owners let their pets attack a group of stray cats that had been in the neighborhood for years.

Latonya Sassee has been caring for and feeding feral cats across Brooklyn for about 10 years. Every night after leaving work she will spend hours making sure the cats are taken care of.

"Some days I can do an hour or two if it's a quick colony. Other days I can be out until 3, 4 in the morning," Sassee said.

For some time, her favorite has been Tuxedo, who lived among a cat colony at Canarsie's Breukelen Houses. She said he looked after other members of the group, saying if a new cat showed up, Tuxedo frequently "puts them under his wing."

But earlier in January, she said her beloved Tuxedo was mauled — and Sassee said it was done deliberately. She told NBC New York that a man and a woman were out with their two dogs, and sicced the canines on the cat colony. A witness told her it got even worse than that, though.

"(Tuxedo) got away and they put a chair there and a stick and they banged him down the tree. They made him come down the tree so their pit bull could maul him to death," Sassee said. "Now what kind of insanity, what kind of evil, sadistic person would come and do that?"

Those dog owners have not yet been arrested despite what Sassee said have been daily calls to police with information about the couple's wheerabouts. She said the police never call her back, and now others are getting in on it. Neighbors want to know why nothing has been done.

"This man weaponized a dog with all intent to kill an animal, which is a crime, and I don't know why nothing is being done about it," said neighbor Alexis Cagino. "Nobody like that should own a dog (or) should have the right to own an animal."

The NYPD said the animal cruelty squad is investigating whether and criminal charges can be brought against the dogs' owners. Sassee said she'll keep trapping, neutering and releasing cats, but Tuxedo's death has changed her forever.

"I have not been the same. This has crushed me, this has killed me," she said. "My spirit is gone."

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