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Dead animals found in Greenport elicit outrage on social media

Update (March 27, 4:30 p.m.): Police found where the dead animals discovered on a sidewalk in Greenport next to a sign that said, “Anyone missing a cat?,” came from, Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley said Tuesday afternoon.

After the animals — believed to be a cat and an opossum — were removed by the Greenport Highway Department, a police officer looked for people in the area who may have knowledge of the incident.

The officer went door-to-door in the immediate area and located a homeowner who stated that they had contractors working in an out building/attachment to their house and discovered the two petrified animals in the picture,” he wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon.

“They placed the animal in a debris pile in the yard and that’s the last they saw of them. It is still unclear how they ended up in the position they did in the picture,” the chief said.

Chief Flatley said his department notified the Suffolk County SPCA of the outcome and they did not respond to investigate.

Originally (March 27, 10:38 a.m.): Eileen Charters was walking her dog on Front Street in Greenport Village Tuesday morning when the dog started acting up and pulling on the leash.

That’s when she came upon the carcasses of two dead animals between Fourth and Fifth Streets with a hand-written sign in black ink that read, “Anyone missing a cat?”

  • Editor’s Note: This post contains a graphic image below. Readers be advised.

“Wow. This is beyond bizarre,” she remembered thinking. “It was just so upsetting … I can’t wrap my head around it.”

She sent a cellphone picture to her husband, Gary Charters, and asked him to post something on “Let’s Talk Village of Greenport” Facebook page in an attempt to get them removed quickly, before children walking to school would see.

“This is not pretty and I’m disgusted that I’m posting this,” Mr. Charters wrote with the photo. “If someone thinks it’s a joke or funny they are very sick people.” He tagged Mary Bess Phillips, a village trustee, who responded less than 15 minutes later to let him know it had been removed.

Ms. Phillips said Pete Manwaring and the highway department crew, which report for work early, had already removed the skeletal remains, which she was told were an opossum and a cat. “The credit really needs to go to the road crew for taking care of this quickly.”

“I’m alarmed,” she added. “It’s annoying and it’s upsetting that someone in the Village of Greenport would have that kind of attitude … when the kids walk along that street to go to school.”

Thirty comments followed with many people using words like “sick,” “disgusting” and “sad.”

The dead animals pictured in front of a sign Tuesday morning in Greenport Village. (Credit: Courtesy of Eileen Charters)

The carcasses had been there overnight, it seems. One commenter wrote on Mr. Charters’ post: “My daughter came home from school yesterday, and told me about it, as she had seen this walking back from lunch. She was truly upset and disgusted by it. I wonder what goes through people’s minds when they do such insensitive, foul acts.”

Another commenter said someone she had spoken to had seen it on Sunday or Monday, but there was no sign.

“It looks like both animals are desiccated and may have died in a crawl space or under a porch and ended up mummified,” another poster said.

Reached at Village Hall Tuesday morning, Paul Pallas, the village administrator, said he was unaware of the incident, but would contact the police.

No report was immediately filed with the Southold Town Police Department, but Chief Martin Flatley said after the online post was brought to his attention, he was having the Greenport sector car check the area and ask around.

Roy Gross, the chief of the Suffolk County SPA, said that his department was notified Tuesday morning, after the carcasses were removed. “We have an investigator already on it. We made numerous calls to different departments, and we’re waiting for a call back.”
Chief Gross said his department should have been notified before the bodies were disturbed so that his investigators could examine them and rule out animal cruelty.
“We need to find the bodies to do further investigation,” he said.

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This article has been updated since it was originally posted.