Saratoga County eatery Spring Street Deli & Pizzeria, located in Saratoga Springs, has disabled its Facebook comments, deleted its Instagram account, and is receiving a barrage of angry reviews on Yelp.
The backlash comes after owner Anthony Gargano reportedly grew fed up with the “sweet” ginger cat, named Kane, showing up to his Spring Street eatery, where it was “loved by many” and often fed by employees, according to a GoFundMe.
On the night of Thursday, Jan. 4, Gargano drove the cat to the Saratoga County Animal Shelter while they were closed and abandoned him outside, despite knowing that he lived just three houses away from his business, the cat's owner Jaime DiGiovanni alleged.
Temperatures that night bottomed out around 20 degrees.
“Luckily this was caught on camera, and Kane was seen wandering around scared and then running into the woods nearby,” reads the GoFundMe. He hasn’t been seen since.
Gargano, age 49, was later arrested by Saratoga County Sheriff’s deputies and charged with animal abuse under the state’s Agriculture and Markets law, the Schenectady Daily Gazette reports. He pleaded not guilty.
DiGiovanni told the outlet that she and Gargano spoke the day before the incident, and he threatened to contact animal control if she didn’t stop the cat from entering his business. She then told the restaurant’s employees to stop feeding Kane.
The Saratoga County Animal Shelter in Ballston Spa called her on Jan. 10 and informed her that Kane had been dropped off at the facility on Jan. 4 and that someone had confessed to doing so, the Daily Gazette reports.
“What bothers me is he knew it was my cat, he knows I live three houses down and you chose to take him when the shelter was closed and drop him off, and we still haven't found Kane,” DiGiovanni told the outlet.
Meanwhile, her family is devastated by the loss of their beloved pet, which was adopted by her teenage son’s late father, according to their GoFundMe.
Volunteers have spent the ensuing weeks searching near the shelter, as well as the surrounding woods and nearby neighborhoods, to no avail.
“We are worried about him being in an unfamiliar environment in the freezing rain and cold, with wildlife and feral cats nearby who may want to fight him if he seeks shelter in their territory," campaign organizer Jane Smith said.
"We are worried he may have or will try to jump into a dumpster at the recycling facility next to the shelter, in search for food, and end up crushed.
“We don’t want to think of these worst-case scenarios, we just want to bring Kane home to his family and we won’t give up hope.”
Smith said she’s hoping to raise enough money to offer a reward for Kane’s safe return. She’s also looking into possibly getting drones or thermal equipment to aid in the search.
Daily Voice has reached out to Gargano for comment and will update this story should he respond.
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