Cats have been turning up in South Utica with what looks like pink paint on their tails or paws. Some claim they are being painted for bait in a dog fighting ring. But there's a purr-fectly innocent explanation for that 'paint.'

Melissa Klein found a cat with pink on its tail and it's not the first time.  "This is the 4th cat I have known in the past week to have been spotted with paint on its fur and in South Utica. The second one had pink paint on its paw. Third one had pink paint on its side. A 4th had green paint on its tail," she shared on Facebook. "This cat was most likely trapped by a dog fighting ring, painted for bait, but then was lucky to have escaped with its life,"

The CNY SPCA looked into the pink 'painted' cat and discovered the paint was actually sidewalk chalk but say they are aware of a cat problem in South Utica and encourage anyone to call with concerns. "We have been investigating issues with cats in the South Utica area, including a cat that was shot, and we need to try to piece together all of the information coming in to see if it is related or if it is a totally separate issue," said Dee Schaefer.

One of the Dog Control Officers at  CNY SPCA is from Australia, where fighting rings will paint one cat blue and one cat green. Bets are taken on which color cat will last longer when dropped into two different rings with dogs. "He's never heard of one being painted pink and usually cats used in dog fighting rings will have paint on the back or stomach area, not just a foot or tail."

The CNY SPCA understands animal welfare laws in New York State are antiquated and change does need to happen. Anyone with animal cruelty concerns should report them to the CNY SPCA and not ASPCA. "They don't handle cruelty in this area as they're a national organization based in NYC."

Email crueltyinvestigations@cnyspca.org, or call 315-454-3469 to report any cases of animal abuse.

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