AP NEWS

SPCA: Suspect In Plymouth Baited Cats With Food On Fishing Hooks

April 10, 2019

PLYMOUTH — Authorities launched an animal cruelty investigation into “cat fishing” Monday after a stray cat was found suffering with three fishing hooks in its mouth and two others were spotted with fishing line coming out of their mouths.

The captured cat, which a veterinarian said was hours away from death, was rushed for emergency surgery and will survive. A search is on for the two others.

A day before the discovery, East Main Street resident Brittany Miskewicz said she witnessed a neighbor holding a fishing pole on his second-floor porch, bragging he was about to start “fishing for cats.”

She didn’t think he was serious.

“I didn’t think there would be a hook on it,” Miskewicz, 22, said Tuesday.

Miskewicz pointed to the deck where she says she saw the neighbor holding the fishing pole and also skinny rope he tossed over the railing on his porch. Fishing line could be seen tied around a flag holder. Also spotted was skinny rope that resembled the one attached to fishing hooks removed from the captured cat.

“It’s disgusting,” Miskewicz said.

Plymouth Code Enforcement officials posted the apartment unfit for human habitation on Monday.

No charges have been filed in the case, but a local animal cruelty investigator said authorities have a suspect.

“It looks like there is quite a bit of evidence,” said Wayne Harvey, a humane officer for the local chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Somebody was putting string out with fishing hooks on it.”

 

Neighbors said at least 15 cats have been roaming the 400 block of East Main Street for months.

Miskewicz said she regularly put food out for the cats.

After she spotted one of the cats with fish hooks in its mouth, she put food out for the cat and trapped him.

She called some local veterinarians to seek help, but said few agreed to treat the cat. She then posted her dilemma on social media and got a huge response.

The animal rescue group, Happy Hearts and Tails, responded to the scene and arranged for the cat to be treated by Pittston-based veterinarian Dr. Inayat Kathio.

Kathio, a Pakistani diplomat, had just left for a trip to Washington, D.C., where he was to meet with officials from the U.S. State Department. He turned around, canceled the trip and agreed to treat the cat.

The cat had hooks in his mouth, tongue and throat that caused abscesses, Kathio said. He said the cat also had a 106-degree fever.

“He was a couple hours away from dying,” Kathio said. “The people who do these things should be severely punished.”

As Kathio helped the cat, volunteers with Happy Hearts and Tails and another group, Whiskers World, worked to trap the other cats in the neighborhood. They were taken to the Eastern Pennsylvania Animal Alliance, a clinic in Wilkes-Barre.

They were able to get 10 of the cats.

On Tuesday, several cats were spotted on the porch where the alleged cat fishing was taking place. There was no sign of the two other cats that reportedly also had fishing hooks in their mouths.

“This man should be in jail,” said Dawn Mendygral, who runs Happy Hearts and Tails. “This is sick. He did it to not one, not two, but three cats. And two of them have vanished.”

Contact the writer: bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2055, @cvbobkal

 

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The animal rescue groups Happy Hearts and Tails and Whiskers World are working together to help more than 10 stray cats found in Plymouth, including one that had fish hooks in its mouth, tongue and throat.