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Old Brooklyn family claims neighbor stole their cat, APL investigates neighbor for animal cruelty

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 10:26 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Some neighbors who live on Treadway Avenue in Old Brooklyn said their cats have been missing for months. They claimed the culprit is a man who lives on their block that has been hoarding animals.

On Thursday, the Cleveland APL came to that neighbor’s home and rescued 11 cats living in filthy conditions. One of them belonged to a family whose cat had been missing for more than three months.

Christian Escapa says in April, his family went on vacation, and his father-in-law was in charge of taking care of their cat and dog.

“We came back home, no cat,” said Escapa. “Every night I put his food out, his bed was still here and no cat.”

After more than three months, the family had pretty much given up hope they’d ever get their cat Coby back.

“I don’t know something told me when I seen that guy over there with some like cages, I was like, ‘Yo have you seen this cat by any chance?’ and he was like, ‘He might be in here,’ and so I walked in there and hey here’s Coby!” Escapa said.

Escapa said when he walked into his neighbor’s home, he couldn’t believe the conditions.

“Oh, it was like at least two and a half feet of garbage,” Escapa said. “There was about I’m gonna estimate like 500 to 1,000 flies in there. It was like fly galore; as soon as I walked in like 15 hit me in the face, and I was just like, what the hell is this? Just horrible conditions. The room that they were in it was just cat feces everywhere.”

Other neighbors told 19 News it’s not the first time this man has hoarded animals like this.

“There’s been a lot of cats missing in the neighborhood, and they wound up in his house,” said another neighbor, Trevor Lyons. “A lot of the cats that come out of his house are dead.”

Escapa says the neighbor knew Coby was his cat, but he took him anyway.

“The one day he tried to grab him, I was like. ‘Yo, that’s my cat! And he was like, ‘Oh my bad; he looks like mine.’ So he kind of knew, and the cat had collars on him, and he always had the little bell on him so you could hear him,” Escapa said.

The Cleveland APL is investigating the neighbor for animal cruelty. We are not naming this man because he has not yet been charged in this case. He has been in trouble with the law before for violating multiple cities of Cleveland health codes.

As for Escapa, he says his cat won’t be leaving his sight from now on.

“He’s staying in the house now,” he said.

The other cats are now with the APL, so if you live in the Old Brooklyn area and your cat went missing, give them a call.

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