Tag: New York

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.

Despite Snow and Danger, This Buddy Made His Way Home After 2 Weeks

Today we’re bringing you a story about another Buddy the Cat from New York, a well-loved domestic shorthair who went missing before a series of snowstorms walloped the New York City area.

This Buddy belongs to John Forestieri of Southold, NY, a town in Suffolk County, at the easternmost tip of Long Island. Forestieri brought the little guy to Fork Animal Hospital in Southold on Feb. 8 for surgery, but on the way out of the veterinary office something spooked Buddy and he bolted from his carrier.

Forestieri searched for his missing feline friend and enlisted the help of others. The veterinary office wasn’t far from his home at just more than two miles away, but a storm was bearing down on the area and Buddy would have to cross busy roads to make his way back.

“I walked for miles, for days and days and days,” Forestieri told local media. “Then the weather got nasty. I didn’t give up on him, but I did think, ‘I don’t think I can do anything for him now.'”

The New York area was already deep into winter weather after it was blanketed with more than a foot of snow on Feb. 2 in one of the worst winter storms in recent memory. A second snowstorm dumped another half foot of snow on the day Buddy went missing. To make matters worse, New York was caught in the deep chill that enveloped most of the country, knocked out power to millions and set new records for low temperatures.

“At first I was holding out hope that he’d be able to stay warm,” Forestieri said.

The Long Island man was beginning to think the worst when he was awoken by scratching outside his sliding door at 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Forestieri was overjoyed to see his Buddy. The cat, who’s been with the family for 10 years, was skinny and his epic trek had taken a toll on him, but he was otherwise okay. He cried out to Forestieri, and the Long Island man said he cried too — tears of joy at his cat’s safe return.

“I thought I was dreaming,” Forestieri said. “But he did it. He found his way home.”

‘New York’s Fattest Cat’ Relinquishes His Title

Remember Barsik, the cat who was so extra-chonk he had to be wheeled around in a baby carriage because he couldn’t fit in a cat carrier?

The former “Fattest cat in New York” has melted the pounds off in the year since he was surrendered to NYC’s Anjellicle Cats rescue and adopted by 35-year-old Meredith Adams.

When he was surrendered, Barisk tipped the scales at 41 pounds — dangerously close to the Guinness record 46 pounds for a house cat. He was so big, the sight of him getting wheeled into the shelter prompted an amused visitor to snap a smartphone pic and quip: “Did he eat another cat?”

Screenshot_2020-11-15 barsik-cat-2020-1-1 jpg (WEBP Image, 915 × 610 pixels)
Slow news day: Barsik made the cover of the Post’s late edition back in April of 2019.

Barsik’s having the last laugh, as he’s down to 22 pounds and enjoying life in his new home.

He’s well on his way to his ideal weight of 16 pounds according to Adams, who says she’s been controlling Barsik’s dry food intake while feeding him wet food.

“He does pretty much everything regular cats do — jumping around, at night he gets the zoomies,” Adams told the New York Post. “He is a regular cat now.”

The Post notes Guinness stopped taking new entries for heaviest cat out of concern that misguided owners would over feed their chonksters to pursue the crown. Himmy, the Australian kitty who set the record, died at just 10 years old from complications associated with his obesity.

Barsik has settled into his new life, diet and all.

“He has a big personality. He is very demanding, he is very vocal, but he is also really friendly,” Adams said. “When I come home from work and get into the building, I hear his meowing all the way down the hall. He wants his food, but he also wants to say ‘hi’ to me.”

barsik
Barsik shortly after he was surrendered in 2019 and was living in a foster home.

Screenshot_2020-11-15 fat-cat-jan-2020 jpg (WEBP Image, 915 × 610 pixels)
Adams and the newly-slim Barsik.

International Cat Day: Interview With Buddy

Big Buddy (The Human): We’re here with Buddy the Cat to celebrate International Cat Day. Welcome, Buddy!

Little Buddy (The Cat): Thank you.

BB: I appreciate you joining us. I’m sure our readers do too.

Buddy: Yeah well, you told me no treats unless I do this interview, so let’s get it over with.

BB: I love the enthusiasm. Our first question is from Mrs. Caldwell’s third-grade class in Skokie, Illinois. Rebecca, age 8, asks: “Hi Buddy! What’s the best thing about being a cat?”

Buddy: Hi, Rebecca. Well, the schedule’s pretty good. Plenty of time for naps and siestas. The food’s usually pretty good too. But I’d say the best thing about being a cat is my status as an apex predator. No one messes with you because they know that you can decapitate them with a single paw swipe. Other animals don’t step to me because they don’t want to see their entrails spill out like a waterfall or their arterial blood sketching a map of Hawaii on the ground, you know what I mean? I’m a very ferocious creature.

BB: Ahem. Maybe we can take it down a notch on the questions from kids?

Buddy: My bad.

BB: Our next question is from Mr. Piper’s eighth-grade class in Rye, New York. Charles, age 13, asks: “Buddy, do you have any tips for getting puss…” Ah, Charles, this is a family blog! Sheesh. Your teacher approved this? Oh! Sorry. The whole question is: “Buddy, do you have any tips for getting pussy cats to come when called?”

Buddy: Sure, Charles. It’s really simple: Do you have any treats? If the answer is yes, then it’s worth our time to acknowledge you and approach. If not, well, we have napping to do.

bud_may2020

BB: That’s great, thank you, Charles. This one’s from six-year-old Cindy in Mrs. Cooper’s class in Bakersfield, California. Cindy says: “I have a dog. Woof woof! Do you like dogs, Buddy?”

Buddy: Yes I do, Cindy! I like them far away from me, in someone else’s home, dragging their butts across someone else’s carpet, preferably very far away so I don’t have to smell them.

BB: I can just feel the love, can’t you? Okay, now let’s go to 10-year-old Ashton from Mrs. Draper’s second-grade class in Lincoln, Nebraska. Second grade, Ashton? Really? Okay. Ashton writes: “Hello Buddy! As president of the Americats, are you happy that baseball is back this season? And who do you think is gonna win the World Series?”

Buddy: It’s a terrific thing that baseball is back, a tremendous, tremendous thing, okay? The American people love baseball, believe me, and we’re gonna have the number one baseball season in history, okay? It really will be. I like the Yankees, Ashton. I know a number of them personally and they’re tremendous people, just terrific people. They’re going to win the World Series over the Dodgers, and the Red Sox aren’t even going to make the playoffs because they’re losers. They’re fired.

BB: Okay. Finally, here’s a question from Lisa in Mr. Park’s fourth-grade class in Peculiar, Missouri. Lisa asks: “I love my kitty cat, Mr. Wobbles, and he loves me. Do you love your human, Buddy? What’s your favorite thing about him?”

Buddy: Hi Lisa! Do I love my Big Buddy? I love it when he feeds me treats and catnip! I guess you could say I love him even though the service is slow and sub-par around here sometimes. I’m very forgiving. Still, he could improve. My favorite thing about him? Hmmm. He’s a pretty good mattress.

BB: Oh, that lukewarm endorsement has moved me to tears! That’s all for today. Thanks to Buddy for generously taking time out of his busy napping schedule, and for all the kids who submitted questions. Don’t forget to do something special for your own cats today!