A Queens man was arrested late last week and charged with the February killing of a cat in front of a bar in Woodhaven.
Officials from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) confirmed that Richard Ferrugio, 49, of Queens, was arrested in the morning outside his Queens residence on March 16. He faces charges stemming from a Feb .7 incident in which a small cat was beaten to death with a lug wrench on 78th Street.
Ferrugio is being charged with one count of felony animal cruelty and one count of criminal possession of a weapon, the ASPCA said. Ferrugio has also been arraigned on those charges.
Nancy Kennedy, who manages Neir’s Tavern on 78th Street, previously told The Forum that she was working in the evening on Feb. 7, when she saw Ferrugio—whom she identified only as ‘Richard’ at the time—pull up to the curb on across the street from the bar in a car later described by police as a silver Nissan Maxima.
Kennedy said she saw Ferrugio take a lug wrench from the vehicle and bludgeon the cat with it. Kennedy, a longtime bar employee who had described Ferrugio as a regular, said that she had almost immediately exited the bar and confronted him in an attempt to save the cat; at which point Ferrugio allegedly cursed at her and threatened her with the wrench before he drove off.
Kennedy called 911 and representatives from the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA), both of whom later arrived at the scene. WRBA officials posted news of the incident on their Facebook page.
When Ferrugio was arrested on Mar. 16, the lug wrench allegedly used to kill the cat was recovered from his property via a search warrant. Sources with knowledge of the situation said that traces of DNA from the dead cat were found on the lug wrench, although the ASPCA did not confirm whether that was true.
Ed Wendell, president of the WRBA, welcomed the news of the arrest, calling it “good news” that the man had been apprehended.
For the felony animal cruelty charge, Ferrugio, if convicted, can face a maximum of two years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. For the criminal possession of a weapon charge, a misdemeanor, he can face a maximum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
By Jean-Paul Salamanca