On Thursday I noticed that a cat was crying continually in the apartment underneath me. I knocked on the door, but no one was home. The next day the cat was still crying constantly. I knocked again and still no answer. I knocked on the door of the apartment next door to see if they knew if anyone was living there. No answer.
Long story short: since then I’ve been knocking on both doors periodically during the day and night and no one has been home. I put a sign on the door early Sunday morning, and I also put a piece of paper in the doorframe which would fall if anyone opened the door. I called the super and he said someone was feeding the cat every day which could be true, except it’s now over 24 hours and that piece of paper is still in the door. When I called the super back this morning to say no one came yesterday to feed the cat he said someone had. Since I now know that is not true I can’t be sure that anyone has been there to feed the cat at all since Thursday (or before that, Thursday is only the day I first noticed it).
You’re told to call 311 in cases of animal abuse or neglect. I opened a report online and they closed the report saying the police had no access. Hello? Isn’t that the issue, an animal is possibly abandoned in a locked apartment? If access wasn’t a problem I’d already be in there. I called 311 this time and opened another report and they closed that one within minutes. I also stopped by the local precinct and they said they couldn’t do anything and gave me a number to call this morning. I got a machine (also, it’s the number for the Domestic Violence unit and I feel weird calling them about animal neglect). I’ve been calling the landlord and they’re still not in yet. I noticed that the NYPD’s animal investigation unit uses twitter so I tweeted them yesterday, and they answered this morning. They took the two 311 call reference numbers and the address, but I haven’t heard back yet. I imagine I am one of many calls and tweets though, so I’m still hopeful.
I’m going to continue to try to reach the landlord and others but if I don’t get a response by noon, I will consider more drastic measures. I read that a cat can only go without water for a few days and it’s been a few days.
Noon: Haven’t heard back from the landlord or from the animal investigation unit. The cat is still crying continually.
12:16: I reached the landlord of the building and he promises someone will be here within an hour to open the door.
1:58: Someone from the landlord’s office arrived and he was about to go in through the window when the tenant called. She must be out of town, and she said a friend would come, but who knows when?? I told the landlord’s guy that I would call him if no one showed up by 5. The cat is still crying.
3:15: The tenant just called me! She thought someone was coming regularly to take care of the cat while she was out of town, and I said I don’t think they’ve been coming as much as they say, but we weren’t having a battle about it. This person is a real cat person too, and as a matter of fact this is a foster cat!! So she was very nice on the phone, and grateful to know, and I said I’d be happy to take care of the cat in the future. She said her friend promised to get there by 5:30. Help is on the way little guy!
4:50: Sgt. Michael Murphy, the CO of the NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad, just called in response to my report!! He was so great. He explained that his unit investigates big cases, like dog fighting, and my local precinct is actually responsible to investigate possible animal neglect. He called my precinct to let them know, but of course it still would have played as it has. Because they’re not going to break the door down unless the animal is in imminent danger and all other avenues into the apartment have been explored. So we still would have waited for the landlord to try to get in, etc.
But, the NYPD is ready to respond if that friend doesn’t show up. My poor neighbor, who seems like she is actually a lovely person. All this drama. And maybe the friend has been showing up, just not every day. She said food and water was left out, but I asked the landlord’s guy if he saw that when he looked in the window and he said no. But maybe it was in another room.
5:35: I just checked and my sign is gone and the paper is gone so someone was in there. I called my neighbor to make sure and she said yes, and that her friend had called and the cat was okay. I can now rest and go to the summer sing I planned to attend!
Later Update: I met the friend who is taking care of the cat and she is clearly a great and caring person who loves the cat. She also introduced me to the cat, who is a love bug. So the cat is totally fine and in good hands.
The door with my sign.