WHITE PLAINS, New York — A man was arrested Tuesday in connection with the discovery last spring of 25 dead cats hanging from trees in plastic bags, a grisly find that prompted animal lovers including Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler to post $25,000 in reward money.
Westchester County's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Rene Carcamo was charged with illegally disposing of the dead cats. Carcamo, of Yonkers, was not charged with killing the cats.
The charge is a violation of environmental law with a maximum penalty of one year in jail. The director of enforcement for the SPCA, Ernest Lungaro, said, "That's what we're able to prove, that he was hanging them."
Carcamo was arraigned Tuesday afternoon and was held on $5,000 bail, Lungaro said. He had no information on a defense lawyer. Calls to Yonkers police were not immediately returned.
Lungaro would not say if officials believe Carcamo also killed the cats. He said in April that tests on three cats' bodies showed they were killed with blows to the head at various times over the previous year and were dead when they were put in the bags.
The cats were discovered in April by a public works crew doing an annual cleanup in a wooded area just off Overlook Terrace in Yonkers, about a mile and a half north of the Bronx. Carcamo lives nearby.
Animal welfare groups and private citizens, including Butler, posted $25,000 in reward money. Lungaro said that because Carcamo has not been charged with killing the cats, he was unsure what would become of the money.
Besides the charge related to the dead cats, Carcamo was charged with animal cruelty. The SPCA said that during the investigation, Lungaro found two sick kittens in Carcamo's possession and told him to take them to a veterinarian but he did not. Lungaro later took the kittens away, and a vet found them to be severely neglected, the SPCA said.
After Carcamo's arrest, the SPCA went to his apartment and removed five more cats, some of them with various minor ailments, Lungaro said.