Man, 70, arrested after allegedly dumping soiled cat litter on property

BETHLEHEM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A 70-year-old man faces a criminal tampering charge after he allegedly dumped soiled cat litter on residential and town property in Selkirk.

Howard A. Shafer, of Selkirk, is charged with misdemeanor Criminal Tampering in the Third Degree.

Howard A. Shafer (Photo: Bethlehem Police Dept.)
Howard A. Shafer (Photo: Bethlehem Police Dept.)

The Bethlehem Police Department had been investigating several complaints involving soiled cat litter being dumped on residential and town property in the Trinity Manor development. Shafer was observed in the development where it was determined he dumped the soiled cat litter on the property of another.

Neighbors said the incidents have occurred for years, and after several complaints, Shafer was caught on a neighbor’s surveillance camera.

“Actually, it’s been going on for two years,” one neighbor said. “The last time it happened was three weeks ago – Sunday. I wanted to know who the sickie was; who was doing it.”

The former Albany County legislator was arrested Sunday morning without incident. Court documents claim police caught Shafer on the street after the most recent dump.

“There were specific locations being targeted,” Det. Sgt. Adam Hornick with the Bethlehem Police Department said. “We’re not going to mention at this point.”

The documents show Shafer admitted to the act and at least one before it. But neighbors said it would sometimes happen as much as twice in one week.

“Almost every night get up to go to the bathroom or whatever to see if something was going on,” a neighbor said.

Police said the motives are unclear, and neighbors also didn’t know why the dumping occurred. No one answered at Shafer’s home for a comment, but one neighbor hopes Shafer is charged with more.

“I hope that the Bethlehem police will delve into some more information and maybe come up with more charges,” he said.

Shafer was issued an appearance ticket to appear in Bethlehem Town Court at 4 p.m. on March 17. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending.

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