Update (July 12 at 11:36 a.m.):
- State police said a forensics team is analyzing the animal bodies found Monday in Rye.
- Police have not named Bronx veterinarian Andrew Manesis, who has been charged in the Harrison animal dumping incident, as a suspect in this case. State police are working with Westchester County Police and analyzing any similarities between the two incidents.
- State police could not comment on whether or not they have been in contact with Manesis during their most recent investigation.
Dead animals stuffed in black garbage bags have been discovered near the side of a Westchester highway for the second time in a little more than three months, state police said.
Thruway Authority workers led police to the gruesome scene after smelling something out of the ordinary near the I-287 entrance ramp from I-95 in Rye. The bodies, most likely dogs and cats, were in three or four black garbage bags and were so decomposed that only bones and fur remained, police said. The level of decomposition made it impossible to tell exactly how many animals were in the bags.
Police discovered the remains behind a cement barricade at about 2:15 p.m. Monday, said state police investigator Joseph Bererra.
"It looked like they just pulled over on the shoulder and threw it over a cement barrier," said Bererra. "It was just thrown right over it."
The discovery is similar to a case in Harrison this April, when 34 dead dogs and cats and a domestic lizard on the side of an entrance ramp to the Hutchinson River Parkway. The animals were found in 25 different trash bags that investigators believe were for an extended amount of time.
Bronx veterinarian Andrew Manesis was and charged with dumping the animals in Harrison. Investigators believe he accepted money to dispose of the animals after they died at Throgs Neck Animal Hospital in the Bronx, but instead drove to Westchester and dumped the animals on the side of the highway.
Manesis still faces misdemeanor charges of scheme to defraud in the second-degree, violation of environmental conservation law and two counts of petit larceny.
State police are looking into whether the latest incident is connected to the Harrison incident. New York State police, who are handling the investigation, have reached out to the SPCA and Westchester County Police who handled the Harrison case.
The bags found in Rye Monday were probably hidden behind the barricade for more than a year, Bererra said. Because of the level of decomposition, it will be difficult to determine exactly how long ago the animals were dumped there.
"There's a lot of hot weather, so that's going to speed up the rate of decomposition," said Bererra. "So at this time we don't know if it happened at the same time (as the Harrison incident).
The bodies found Monday are being stored as evidence at this time, police said. Bererra said it hasn't been determined if necropsies, animal autopsies, will be performed.