Category: crime

Woman Arrested In Connection With Attack That Killed Instragram-Famous Cat

A woman involved in a brutal attack that led to the death of a well-known cat — and emergency surgery for one of his owners — faces assault charges after she was identified and arrested, the NYPD said.

Evelyn Serrano, 42, was caught on video tackling and beating Chanan Aksornnan, a 34-year-old woman who had been walking her cat, Ponzu, on a lead in Brooklyn’s McCarren park.

ponzu_serrano2
Evelyn Serrano. Credit: Asian-Dawn.com

Aksornnan suffered minor injuries, her boyfriend suffered a broken nose and had to undergo emergency surgery, and Ponzu lost his life in the chain of events that lead to the beat-down.

Bystanders say the incident began when a 12-year-old boy, who may be related to Serrano, either tripped over or tugged on the lead Aksornnan was using to walk Ponzu. The three-year-old cat was launched in the air and hit the ground hard, losing all his claws. He died of a heart attack shortly after a horrified Aksornnan scooped him up in her arms.

Serrano and her alleged accomplices showed “no remorse,” Aksornnan told Brooklyn news site Greenpointers, and acted as if Aksornnan was being unreasonable by being upset about the cat.

“That’s what you get for walking your —ing cat, b—,” a woman with Serrano said.

When Aksornnan referred to Ponzu as her “child,” the women mocked her,  yelling “That’s why you got no kids.”

Video shows Serrano — who at 5’7″ and 200 pounds is considerably larger than Aksornnan — launch herself at the grieving victim and tackle her to the ground.

Two other women with Serrano joined in, kicking and punching the victim while Serrano had her pinned down, video shows.

One of those women, identified as Julie Yvette Rodriguez, mean-mugs a bystander who was recording the incident, yelling “B–, I’ll f– you up” toward the end of the video.

Screenshot_2021-04-26 Asian Netizens Have Methodically Identified Those Responsible for Ponzu’s Death - Asian Dawn
Julie Yvette Rodriguez. Credit: Facebook via Asian-Dawn.com

After the incident, Rodriguez allegedly left anti-Asian comments and pictures on Aksornnan’s post about the death of her cat.

“English please ching ching,” she allegedly wrote, according to a screenshot shared on Twitter, before following it up with a meme of a stereotypical Asian man.

Screenshot_2021-04-26 Jowin Marie Batoon 🇵🇭 on Twitter
Credit: Instagram via twitter/Jowin Marie Batoon

The worst take on the incident goes to Jezebel’s Megan Reynolds, who imagined a bizarre economic disparity justification for the attack, noting the “park is full of picnicking gentrifiers.” Serrano and her cohort, Reynolds wrote, were seemingly incensed “about the fact that [Ponzu] was a cat on a leash, walking as if he owned the place.”

“Ponzu was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and something about the temerity of walking an Instagram-influencer cat on a leash was a larger symbol of economic disparity,” Reynolds wrote.

While she does acknowledge that she “can’t imagine a circumstance where I’d be so upset about it that I’d provoke an attack,” she alternately proposes the attack could have been prompted by “collective pandemic fatigue, shared by all of us in different ways, that manifested in violence and ended in tragedy.”

While the incident brought out a lot of ugliness, it also brought at least three communities together to console the victims and seek justice — neighbors and friends of the victim, the Asian-American community in Brooklyn, and local restaurant owners.

Aksornnan, who owns a Brooklyn restaurant called Baoburg and is known locally as Chef Bao Bao, received an outpouring of support from customers, neighbors and fellow restaurant owners. Owners of nearby Chinese and Japanese restaurants lent their support, and donors raised more than $65,000.

The money will be used for “the legal fight that is ahead of us,” according to the GoFundMe, as well as a legislative push for more severe animal abuse laws. In New York, pets are considered property and harming an animal results in — at most — a misdemeanor under the state’s Agriculture and Markets law.

Instagram-Famous Cat Killed, Owners Hurt In Park Attack

A famous cat is dead and his owners are looking for justice after a melee at a Brooklyn park on April 4.

Chanan Aksornnan, 34, was walking her cat Ponzu in Brooklyn’s McCarren park when a boy around 12 years old set off a chain of events that lead to the cat’s death and a subsequent melee that saw Aksornnan and her boyfriend jumped by the boy’s family.

Some reports say the boy “intentionally pulled on the leash,” while others say he tripped over Ponzu’s lead with such force that the famous feline was launched into the air. A Facebook post to a group called #JusticeForPonzu claims the boy “came from nowhere, dragged the leash using his body.”

What the accounts do agree on is three-year-old Ponzo hit the ground hard and lost all his claws. Aksornnan ran and scooped Ponzu up, but the terrified cat had a heart attack and died in her arms.

Greenpointers, a local Brooklyn blog, spoke with the victim:

“The family not only did not offer any apology nor remorse,” Chanan said. “They immediately began a verbal abuse which escalated into a physical assault. I got punched and kicked by three women.” Meanwhile, Chanan’s boyfriend was punched, his nose and glasses broke, and he required emergency surgery the following day.

The version portrayed by the #JusticeForPonzu Facebooker described the family as even more combative, with one of the boy’s relatives yelling “That’s what you get for walking your —ing cat, b—.”

Two women attack Ponzu’s owner moments after the cat died.

It’s not clear what happened next — and it looks like police are still trying to sort that out — but a video posted to Reddit shows Aksornnan on the ground, with a much larger woman on top of her and another attacking her from the side while bystanders tried to pry them off the victim.

As People notes:

In the video, a person who appears to be Aksornnan is swarmed by a group of screaming women, who can be heard telling her, “That’s why you got no kids.”

One of the bystanders who tried to help, a 50-year-old man, was punched in the face for his efforts, suffering a cut on his nose as a result as the attacker pushed her way out of the crowd and ran.

In a brief statement, the NYPD said they were looking for “an unknown Hispanic female,” about 5’7″ and 200 pounds.

Several social media posts are portraying the incident as an anti-Asian hate crime and complained that police haven’t made progress for more than two weeks despite witnesses and at least one recording of the assault. The police have remained tight-lipped and haven’t said much besides confirming they’re actively investigating, looking for the attacker and hoping to speak with more witnesses.

Bye, Buddy: Why I Got Rid Of My Cat

When I started Pain In The Bud, my goal wasn’t to celebrate cats or to express my love for my cat by sharing his quirks and amusing anecdotes about his allegedly adorable behavior.

I had one goal and one goal only: To make money. That’s why you see ads all over this site, and it’s why I’ve been relentlessly hawking certain pet products. The companies behind those products pay me big bucks!

Which brings us to our next bit of news. Since I’ve been writing about Buddy online, creating a fictionalized version of him that is delightful and loveable, and selecting only the best photos to make him look handsome and dashing, I’ve received several offers to buy him.

To be clear, the reason I didn’t sell him before was not because I was hesitant to part with him. He’s annoying AF, he’s a degenerate catnip addict and he never, ever shuts up.

The real reason? I was holding out for more money. The more I wrote about him, the more delightful and adorable he’d appear to readers, driving his price up. It’s kind of like a basketball team giving more playing time to a player on the trading block, pumping up his stats so he’ll command a higher price on the open market.

The Buddinese Tiger
A promotional image that was part of my dastardly campaign to drive up Buddy’s price in the recent bidding war. He is not a tiger.

So when the most recent offer came in last week, I felt I’d driven Buddy’s price up as high as it would go. A potential buyer in Somalia offered $20,000 for the little stinker! In the meantime, another interested party — a competitive table-setting champion from Skokie, Illinois — offered $22,000.

It was time for a bidding war!

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to report that Buddy has been sold to the Somali for $28,550. The lucky (or unlucky, really) bidder, a pirate who plunders the commercial shipping lanes off the coast of his native country, believed all the nonsense about Buddy being a fierce and powerful miniature tiger, and was in the market for a guard cat to help keep his booty safe.

They tell me there is no turkey where Buddy has gone, and he was very angry about that. Oh well. His new owner is also a neatness freak with OCD who vacuums his home six times a day, which I imagine does not sit well with Buddy, given his history with vacuum cleaners.

But who cares? I got almost 30 grand out of the deal! I’m going to buy a new Les Paul to replace the one “Buddy” (real name Jerkus Maximus) broke, my home is blissfully quiet, and I can sleep through the night without being woken by that infernal little tribble with a tail licking my face. Who in their right mind wants to be roused in the middle of the night by a purring cat? It’s absurd.

So it is with a not-so-heavy heart that I announce an end to Pain In The Bud. He really was a huge pain in the bud. Now he’s someone else’s pain in the bud. Huzzah!

P.S. With Buddy gone, I plan to refocus this blog on the wonderful world of Hummels and the extremely profitable Hummel resale market. Wanna buy the hottest Hummels at street prices? Hit me up.

Sad Buddy
Awww, so sad! Buddy has been exiled to Somalia!

Man Awakes With Robber Pointing Gun At His Head, Demanding His Cats

LAURIUM, Michigan — A Michigan man woke up at 4:15 am Wednesday to find another man standing over him, pointing a gun at his head and demanding the victim hand over his two cats.

The cat burglar — or cat robber, to be precise about it — got impatient, snatched one of the furballs and bolted from the home in Laurium, a town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula about 220 miles north of Green Bay.

The victim, who knew the robber, called police and detectives caught up with the suspect later the same day. He’s a 52-year-old man who has been charged with home invasion and felonious assault, charges that could land him in prison for up to 20 years if he’s convicted. He was also in possession of a gun, which was seized by police.

Cops haven’t publicly released the name of the suspect, who was booked in Houghton County Jail, but said the incident wasn’t random.

“There was a dispute over the cats,” Laurium police Sgt. Kurt Erkkila told People magazine. “I think there was some ownership dispute but it wasn’t [the suspect’s] cats.”

Cops found the suspect with a cat when they arrested him, but did not confirm if it was the same kitty he’d allegedly taken at gunpoint.

It’s unusual for police to withhold the names of people who have been charged with crimes unless the suspects are minors and qualify as youthful offenders, a status in some states that allows minors to get their convictions wiped if they meet certain conditions and stay out of additional trouble for a year.

It’s not clear why police would withhold the name of an adult charged with two serious felonies.

The original MLive report was based on a press release from the Laurium Police Department, while a People reporter spoke to a department spokesman but still did not receive information on the suspect.

We’ll keep an eye on this story and update our readers when more information is available.

photo of gray and white tabby kitten sitting on sofa
Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels.com

Cops Need Help Identifying Woman Who Stole Cat

Police are looking for help from the public as they try to identify a delivery driver who stole a Colorado family’s cat.

The woman is a driver for Postmates, an Uber-owned company that delivers food and other items from restaurants and shops that don’t offer their own delivery services.

Footage from a nearby surveillance camera shows the woman pulling up to the Adams County, Colorado home at 10:27 pm on March 9.

She delivers the package, then bends down and picks up the customer’s cat — an 11-month-old ginger tabby named Simba — before taking off in her white SUV.

Simba had a collar but was not microchipped, police say. Unfortunately, the suspect’s license plate number was not visible in the surveillance footage.

Unbelievably, Postmates hasn’t told detectives who the driver is. It wasn’t clear from a tersely-worded police statement whether the company has been uncooperative or it simply doesn’t have information on one of its own contractors. Neither potential explanation looks good for the company.

The Postmates app is also supposed to provide customers with basic information about their delivery drivers. It wasn’t clear why that information was apparently not available.

After police posted their plea for help identifying the alleged cat thief, several users warned of ongoing scams involving people who steal pets and demand ransom.

Simba’s case is also reminiscent of a late 2019 incident near Minneapolis in which a delivery driver stole a much-loved cat from a customer.

A doorbell camera caught the driver touching the cat and picking him up, but the angle obscured the view of the man actually stealing the cat. After months of denying to police and the cat’s owner that he stole the friendly feline, the driver finally confessed in a rambling letter to the cat’s devastated owner, admitting he tossed the cat out of his truck’s window shortly after stealing him. Because of weak animal protection laws that treat pets as property, the driver was charged only with a pair of minor misdemeanors.

In the case of the Postmates driver in Colorado, because they haven’t had any luck finding the driver, nor any identifying information from her employer, police are appealing to the public and hoping someone will recognize the woman.

6I5IUE5OSZA3VO63OVBF32LGP4They’ve released stills from the surveillance footage, as well as this description: “The woman is a Hispanic female with brown hair in a ponytail, a cloth face mask on, a gray long-sleeve shirt, black pants, and black shoes.”

Anyone with information about the woman or Simba’s whereabouts can reach police at 303-288-1535.