According to his devastated owner Chanan Aksornnan (AKA Chef Bao Bao), they were all out walking on leashes and in their stroller, as they are trained to do, in McCarren Park when a boy suddenly ran up and grabbed Ponzu by his leash, dragging the frightened animal along the ground before flinging him in the air.
Aksornnan and her boyfriend tried retrieve the fleeing cat, shouting at the child and asking him why he'd attacked the animal. That's when she said the boy ran to his family, and the eight of them attacked her.
Horrifying footage of the incident shows a crowd swarming on Aksornnan, dragging her to the ground by the hair, kicking and punching her; one man is seen grabbing Tofu by the tail and yanking him, too. Even Mango was punched:
In her native Thai on Facebook, she claims they screamed "Do not yell at my kid! This is what you've got when you walking your f------ cat, b----!" She said her partner was also assaulted in the fracas, which was only broken up when two bystanders stepped in.
She said that despite several witnesses, police were not interested in helping her; she said officers believed the family's story that the cat had attacked their child first. She said they also demanded she stop referring to her pets as her children, because they were "property".
Aksornnan claimed they pushed against her pressing charges, warning her it could be turned against her; she also claims they demanded: "who the hell walks a cat on a leash anyway?"
"The family not only did not offer any apology nor remorse," Aksornnan told Greenpointers. "They immediately began a verbal abuse which escalated into a physical assault. I got punched and kicked by three women."
Her boyfriend, she said, had both his nose and glasses broke, and required surgery.
But their most devastating injury happened to Ponzu; after catching up to the terrified cat, they found his claws had been ripped away from being dragged; he died at the park.
No arrests have yet been made.
"The incident is currently under investigation by the 94 Precinct Detective Squad. Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to call the 94 Precinct Detective Squad, if they have not already done so," Captain Kathleen E. Fahey told Greenpointers.
Sergeant Jessica McRorie, spokesperson for NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, sent an incident report to TooFab:
"On Sunday, April 4, 2021 at approximately 1651 hours police responded to a 911 call of an assault inside of McCarren Park within the confines of the 94th Precinct. Upon arrival police were informed by a 34 year-old female that she had a dispute with an unknown Hispanic female suspect when the suspect punched and kicked the victim causing cuts and bruises.
"A 50 year-old male intervened in the dispute and was struck with a closed fist to his face causing a laceration to his nose. The suspect then fled the location. The suspect is described as a White Female Hispanic, 5'7", 200 lbs, with red hair and a pony tail. There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing."
According to investigators, the boy accidentally tripped over the cat's leash, injuring the animal; the dispute occurred after the victim confronted the boy and the suspect.
On social media, followers are demanding #JusticeForPonzu, with many branding it a hate crime against his Asian owner.
"We feel robbed. Ponzu was taken away from us way too soon. He was only 3 years and 4 months old. We lost our beloved boy. Mango, Tofu, and Kimchi lost their brother," Aksornnan wrote on Instagram.
"He was doing so well and was so happy traveling with us to the West Coast just last week. We were not prepared for the way he left this world."
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