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Neighbors Work To Save Dozens Of Feral Cats Before Queens Building Comes Down

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Dozens of abandoned cats are trapped inside a Ridgewood, Queens building, and neighbors are desperately trying to save them before the building is demolished.

As CBS2's Ali Bauman reported, a pair of glowing eyes were spotted amid dark debris on cellphone video. That was how neighbors found at least 40 abandoned cats inside 778 Onderdonk Ave. last week.

The cats were crawling through metal and wooden scraps in a building that has been under construction since human tenants moved out in early July.

"It was like a horror movie," said Dolores Benefatti.

"Just saw cats popping out of the rubble and stuff and it was a real horror show," said Michael O'Neill.

Local animal lovers spent days trying to lure out the felines, now skinny and skittish.

So far, the have saved 20, but they believe there are dozens more – and the clock is ticking.

"I've seen the bones on the floor; a jaw," said volunteer rescuer Katie Roman.

"The fumes, the dust, the dangers, just the hazards around them," said volunteer researcher Carissa Aguirre.

On Tuesday, Animal Control replaced the usual construction crews. CBS2's cameras were rolling as five cats were rescued.

But when Bauman tried asking the building's owner why construction went on for so long with so many furry tenants inside, there was no response.

"There was no way they started tearing down this whole building and never saw these close to 40 cats," O'Neill said.

"At some point, you see them somewhere," Aguirre said.

Animal Control told CBS2 they will continue to leave traps and safety remove animals until it is clear all the cats are out of the building. And until then, construction is on hold.

The volunteers are still trying to find home for many of the cats. To find out how you can adopt, click here.

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