$1,000 reward offered for kitten stolen from Petco

By Sabina Mollot

Cat rescue organization KittyKind is hoping to find a kitten that was stolen on Friday at around 2:25 p.m. from the Union Square Petco.

Though no one saw him in the act, a man breezed into the store on East 17th Street while the cats and kittens up for adoption were in their cages. Volunteers are only there in the mornings, evenings and weekends, so none were present when the man came in mid-afternoon, walked over to the cages and broke the lock of a lower cage. He then took a 12-week-old striped kitten named Sage from inside, leaving its sister Rosemary behind, and walked out the door.

According to Valerie Vlasaty, a KittyKind volunteer later briefed on the situation, a customer happened to see the man leave and mentioned he’d walked out with a kitten to an employee. The employee then went outside to try and stop the man, but it was too late; he’d already disappeared into the Union Square crowd.

“We’re devastated, heartbroken,” said Vlasaty.

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Kitten rescued from postal truck engine is still under observation

Melanie, a kitten rescued from a truck parked in Gramercy (Photo by Marilyn Pascarelli)

By Sabina Mollot

Melanie, the mostly blind kitten rescued from the engine of a postal truck last month, is still waiting for her forever home.

Holly Staver, a founding member of rescue organization City Critters, noted that the adorable black and white longhair kitten came close to getting adopted by a Stuy Town resident who wound up not being able to take her for some reason.

Meanwhile, Staver said Melanie may need further observation and specialized veterinary care as her reactions to some cats and other stimuli “are a bit dramatic.” This isn’t due to her limited vision, which hasn’t been a problem as she seems to gets around without problems.

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NYPD MEW: Cops rescue kitten stuck inside truck engine

HEEEEERE, KITTY, KITTY, KITTY–Around a dozen cops were called to the scene where an adorable kitten (pictured) was stuck inside a postal truck parked in Gramercy. (Photo by Marilyn Pascarelli)

By Sabina Mollot

There was no time for kitten around last Wednesday afternoon when police were alerted that a stray feline had somehow ended up in the engine of a postal truck parked in Gramercy.

The kitten, which may have been seeking a warm place to hide from the wind, was seen inside the truck on the southwest corner of Second Avenue and 19th Street by a woman who was walking by. She alerted Ted Weiner, veterinarian and owner of the nearby Gotham Animal Clinic, who then ran to the 13th Precinct on East 21st Street between Second and Third Avenues for help. Fortunately, Weiner later told us, a police officer he spotted outside immediately went with him to the scene to help.

“He came right away, no second thoughts,” said Weiner. “Apparently he was an animal lover.”

Eventually, about a dozen cops from the precinct and Emergency Service Unit responded, with each attempting to follow the kitten’s helpless cries to figure out where in the truck she was.

“They were under the truck, they were all over the place,” Weiner said.

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Peter Cooper mom: I lived under the neighbors from hell

350 First Avenue in Peter Cooper Village (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

350 First Avenue in Peter Cooper Village (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

What do you do when your upstairs neighbors are up all night, every night, making noise, sometimes by playing basketball on bare floors and other times by engaging in screaming matches, which are made worse by the fact that there are a total of 15 people living in the apartment? The answer is, unfortunately, not much, beyond wait for the wheels of justice to turn in housing court and for the offending party to get evicted.

For one family in Peter Cooper Village, the wait to lose their nightmarish neighbors took close to a year. It was last Tuesday when a city marshal finally visited the family’s neighbors’ apartment, but by then the residents, who were in arrears with their rent, had already skipped. A spokesperson for CWCapital declined to comment on the situation, citing litigation.

However, the downstairs neighbor, a resident of 350 First Avenue, spoke to Town & Village about her family’s ordeal on the condition of anonymity, out of fear of retaliation from her former neighbors.

They had after all, upon leaving, intentionally flooded their apartment by letting the bathtub run over, and, in order to ensure they’d inflicted the most damage possible, poured coffee grounds all over the floor.

Naturally this caused water damage and staining in the apartment below, and the downstairs resident gave the interview while staying at a hotel with her family. (However, she noted that the hotel stay wasn’t due to the flooding, but because she didn’t want to be around on the day of the marshal’s visit.) A spokesperson for the marshal’s office didn’t have details of the job available when T&V called for comment, but she did confirm the apartment had been left a mess with “garbage basically” everywhere.

According to their neighbor, other damage to the apartment included doors off of their hinges, walls that were covered in graffiti and floors covered in dog and cat feces.

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City Critters seeking temporary cat shelter

Some of the City Critters cats available for adoption at Petco (Photo by Lori Grunin)

Some of the City Critters cats available for adoption at Petco (Photo by Lori Grunin)

By Sabina Mollot
Normally for City Critters, a cat rescue and adoption group, the idea is to find a “forever home” for the felines who are kept at a local adoption space at a Petco shop in Kips Bay. However, this time it’s the organization itself that needs a home — albeit a temporary one — due to the Petco store being set to close next month.
Volunteers had known about the pending closure for a while and had arranged to simply set up their cages full of cats in need of adoption at another Petco store that was being built about 20 blocks north. However, as with most construction projects, there have been delays and that location isn’t expected to open until July. So now, City Critters is finding itself in need of a place to stay for at least a couple of months, preferably in the same neighborhood. “We need something temporary,” said one of the organization’s longtime volunteers, Jordana Serebrenik, “like a pop-up shop. We don’t need a huge storefront on 34th Street. We’d be okay in a 400-square-foot space.”
Meanwhile, she explained, the two-month gap between Petcos is happening during a critical time for City Critters to be able to show its animals to potential owners with a significant amount of funding at stake.
The reason is that from May 31-June 1, City Critters is scheduled to hold what is expected to be its biggest adoption event of the year. The organization also participated in event, which is held in nine states by Maddie’s Fund, last year at Union Square, and wound up getting 80 cats adopted. Maddie’s Fund structures the event so that members of the public get to bring pets home without having to pay any adoption fees, but in exchange for not charging them, participating pet groups like City Critters get subsidies that are significantly more money than what they would have made in fees.
“City Critters is being asked to, and would like to intake more cats,” said Serebrenik, “but we cannot do so without knowing that we have the ability to house and show the cats.” Having a space that’s public, rather than just foster homes, is crucial to that process, said Serebrenik, so potential adopters can see the cats, and, during hours when volunteers are there, interact with them and learn about adopting. City Critters has relied on Petco, which is located on Second Avenue between 31st and 32nd Street, for 15 years for the space to do this. Generally, eight cats are showed during the week, while around 20 are shown on weekends, after being delivered from foster homes or vets’ offices.
While Petco has offered other stores to use temporarily, those locations are already utilized by other animal rescue groups and additionally, staying local would enable City Critters to take advantage of Kips Bay area volunteers and foster owners, said Serebrenik.
It was at that Petco, where Serebrenik, a Kips Bay resident who now runs a business catching cats for owners and getting them into carriers for vet visits, first spotted the City Critters outpost and decided to volunteer. She’d previously been a lawyer but decided to stop practicing after 10 years. Then one day, when walking past the Petco store, she spotted the cats in their cages, lying on hammocks. Serebrenik recalled that she thought, “What better way to purge my soul of litigation than to clean litter boxes?”
This was seven years ago, and Serebrenik said throughout that time, Petco has been very generous with its space with City Critters. As soon as the store’s management learned of the delay in the new location’s opening, which was late in March, City Critters was informed, she said. The delay, she added, “is no fault of their own. It’s just circumstances.”
However, with City Critters now preoccupied with finding a new adoption center, this

Petco on Second Avenue in Kips Bay (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Petco on Second Avenue in Kips Bay (Photo by Lori Grunin)

has meant there’s been less time to promote the available cats and kittens and generate interest in adoptions in time for the Maddie’s Fund event.
“We are frantic,” said Serebrenik. “We don’t want to miss out on the single most important events for animals to get placed and agencies get money.”
Although the group has been able to steadily find homes for cats and kittens over the years, the challenge has been that there are always more. Sometimes, the group gets custody of cats that have been left in apartments when owners move and leave without them. City Critters will typically get tipped off by a building’s super or a neighbor who knows that an animal has been left behind.
“It happens more often than you’d want it to happen,” said Serebrenik, who’s heard of a couple of recent instances of cats being abandoned in Stuyvesant Town. Other times, the group will take in cats that have been left outside when there’s no evidence that anyone’s looking for them. Most of the time though, volunteers will find themselves having to take custody of cats that have been given up due to reasons such as allergies or an owner dying or moving to a place where there are no pets allowed.
“City Critters is focused on helping animals before they end up in a perilous situation,” said Serebrenik, “like being let out in a 12-degree polar vortex or taken by Animal Control, where their fate is hopefully okay but questionable.”
Petco meanwhile, reiterated that City Critters could use another Manhattan store if it can’t find the Kips Bay area space it wants.
“We’ve had a great relationship with City Critters since we opened the Kips Bay store,” said Lisa Stark, a rep for the company, “and we want to maintain that relationship.”
For the time being, hours at the Kips Bay Petco when cats are on view with a City Critters volunteer on hand are Saturday and Sunday from noon-6 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, email adoptions@citycritters.org.

Sandy-damaged space on Ave. C gets revived as pet store

Alphapet City has two floors including the basement. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Alphapet City has two floors including the basement. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Store owners Sam Cheung, Tony T. and Tony G. have been in the pet supply trade for about five years, but when their business started outgrowing the 200 square foot space in Chinatown, they looked to expand.

Alphapet City, the resulting store, opened on Avenue C at the beginning of March and Cheung said that the perfect space just fell into their laps.

“We could barely find a space this big anywhere in the city but this place had everything,” he said. “We didn’t have to buy a whole new (air conditioning) system. It was mostly just cosmetic work and repairs. This place wasn’t in the best shape but we just did everything ourselves and it worked out.”

The repairs Cheung is referring to were due to damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy. The store, which is two floors including a basement level, is on the same block as a number of other businesses that sustained serious basement flooding and water damage from the storm, on Avenue C between East 11th and 12th Streets. The C-Town next door was closed for months afterward and Ave. C Pharmacy on their other side lost most of its basement stock because of flooding damage.

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