A West Hampton Dunes man did not want to pay a veterinarian to euthanize his mother’s elderly cat, so he killed the pet by putting it in a carrier and tossing the animal into Moriches Bay, officials said Monday.
Michael Moskowitz, 53, was arrested Sunday and arraigned Monday in Southampton Town Court on a felony charge of animal cruelty, according to Chief Roy Gross of the Suffolk County SPCA.
He was released on $2,500 bail on the charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison, Gross said.
The cat was found on Gull Island Sept. 18 by volunteers who were removing garbage and litter from the beach, Gross said.
“One of them looked inside and was shocked by what he saw,” Gross said. He added that he did not know the specific age of the cat.
“I just think how frightened it was, drowning in such an heinous way, such a brutal way of killing an animal, especially a companion animal,” Gross said.
He would not say what led SPCA detectives to Moskowitz, other than to say it was an intensive investigation that concluded that Moskowitz had thrown the cat into the water in June.
“He made statements to our detectives. It appeared he didn’t want to spend he money to euthanize the animal properly, and he decided to kill it himself,” Gross said.
Moskowitz could not immediately be reached for comment.
Gross said that while most animal cruelty cases can only be prosecuted as misdemeanors, Moskowitz could be charged with a felony because of the nature of the crime and the fact that the animal was a family pet.
“If you’re going to have an animal euthanized, do it properly, with a licensed veterinarian,” Gross said. “And if you suspect animal abuse in Suffolk County, call us at 631-382-7722.”