Police make arrest in case of neglected cat found near Warwick trash bin

Donna Vessella was arrested on animal cruelty charges after a cat was found frozen to the inside of a box in Warwick.

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Police have arrested a woman after Warwick Animal Control found a severely neglected cat frozen to the inside of a box.

According to the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA), Donna Vessella, of Warwick, was arrested and charged with one count of abandonment of an infirm animal and one count of unnecessary cruelty.

RISPCA Human Law Enforcement Officer Earl Newman said they were alerted by Warwick Animal Control that the male cat was found Feb. 2 beside a trash bin near the Bayside Apartments on Sandy Lane in Warwick.

RISPCA offered up a $500 reward for the conviction of the owner or owners of the severely neglected cat, though it is unclear if that reward was given after the arrest of Vessella.

Newman said when they found the cat it was in significant distress.

“It was a pretty cold night, it was in the teens when he was left outside, the temperature. He was lucky that he didn’t freeze to death in the box,” he said.

According to Newman, the cat is approximately 4 or 5 years old and weighed in at 8.1 pounds once the excess fur was removed.

“It was pretty significantly matted,” Newman said. “Had a lot of debris stuck in the fur, so he was in pretty bad shape when we found him.”

The cat is also being treated for a double eye infection and some preexisting cardiac problems, Newman said.

“He is being well cared for by the Warwick Animal Hospital and is expected to fully recover,” he added.