Pet Sitter Dumps Two Cats While Family Vacations

Friday, May 17, 2013 - 4:30pm
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It’s every pet parent’s worst nightmare—temporarily leaving your pets with a trusted caregiver only to find out that things have gone terribly wrong. That’s exactly what happened to one New York City family. Late last month, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) Agents responded to a call from a panic-stricken woman: She had just returned home from an extended vacation only to find her beloved cats were missing.

In a shocking twist, our investigation revealed that the pet sitter, a trusted friend of the family, had purposely abandoned the animals.

“He simply didn’t want to take care of them anymore,” says Howard Lawrence, Senior Director of Operations for the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department. “And that is just not acceptable.”

Video surveillance shows two men transporting the cats from the home in carriers and dumping them in a nearby alley. A witness has also stepped up to corroborate that he saw the incident occur.

Rafael Lugo, 59, and his friend Robert Ramos, 55,were both charged with two counts of animal abandonment. If convicted, they face up to two years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. To date, the cats have not yet been found.

“Trust was severely violated in this case, and a family is now beside themselves over the loss of their pets,” says Lawrence. “We hope that these two individuals will be held accountable for their actions.” 

Anyone with information about the cats’ whereabouts is asked to please contact the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Hotline: 877-THE-ASPCA (843-2772). Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #PetSitterBust

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Although we don't know who is the "trusted caregiver" of the abandoned cats, Rafael Lugo, 59, or his friend Robert Ramos, 55, he must have exhibited his irresponsible ways long before being trusted with the care of the cats. And you have to ask WTF? Although, in no way do I advocate blaming the victim, the owners of those cats could have been far more diligent in selecting a suitable caretaker for their cats. The owners are fools and the selected "caretaker" and his "friend" are idiots. And the cats, who chose neither, suffered from their behavior. Those cats didn't have a chance--doomed from the start. I sincerely hope they are found and that they are happy and healthy. And hopefully they found a home where they are loved and cared for as members of a family.


This is nightmare that any pet onwer could have, and for those people to break trust of owners is un-forgiven. It make me wonder if I should ever trust the care of my own animals to anyone. Its wake call to all pets owners. I hope the owners find their two cats, and pet sitter get what's coming to them.