YONKERS, N.Y., April 25 (UPI) -- Police in Yonkers, N.Y., are trying to determine who put dead cats into plastic bags and tied them neatly to tree branches in a wooded area.
The carcasses were discovered Thursday by sanitation workers doing a spring cleanup of the area. Investigators said they found 25 dead animals, some only skeletons, and five empty bags that appeared to have been ripped open by wild animals.
Ernest Lungaro, head of law enforcement for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Westchester County, said the cats could not have been alive when they were bagged because they would have been able to break their way out of the flimsy plastic bags. Necropsies are being done to determine the cause of death.
"It's something very odd," Lungaro said.
While police said at least some of the animals appear to have been on their own as feral cats, there have also been recent complaints in the area about animals disappearing. Lungaro said the carcasses must have been hung in the last year because sanitation workers noticed nothing last year.
Police Lt. Patrick McCormack said there was no sign the carcasses had been part of a religious or cult ritual.
Yonkers, a city of almost 200,000 people, is just north of New York City. Residents in the area say trash is often dumped in the woods.
"That place is always dirty so when you see a bag there, it's nothing new," Guy John, who lives across the street, told the (Westchester) Journal News. "You see rats running out of there. It looks like a race ... Sometimes you confuse the rats for the cats."