Instagram Famous Cat Dead After Child Trips Over Pet's Leash, Fight Erupts At Public Park
EDITOR'S NOTE: The below story has been revised from the original version published April 21
Ponzu, the 3-year-old cat whose unlikely friendship with a parrot and a dog has amassed more than 25,000 followers on Instagram, is dead.
"Dear Friends – it is with an immense sadness and anguish that we bring you this tragic news: our beloved Ponzu died on Easter Sunday after suffering shock and injuries from an incident in our park," a post shared on his Instagram on April 7 read.
"We are traumatized, lost for words, heartbroken," the statement continued.
Ponzu was brother to Mango the parrot, Tofu the dog, and fellow feline Kimchi, who joined the family last year. The group's unique bond had been a staple on Ponzu's Instagram page.
According to Ponzu's owner Chanan Aksornnan, she and her boyfriend were out with their animal brood — with Ponzu walking on a leash, as he was trained to do — at McCarren Park in Brooklyn, New York. A spokesperson for the New York Police Department tells PEOPLE a child apparently tripped on the cat's leash.
Aksornnan provided her account of the incident to the Brooklyn news website Greenpointers. She claimed that the child's family "not only did not offer any apology nor remorse," but "immediately began a verbal abuse, which escalated into a physical assault."
"I got punched and kicked by three women," she alleged.
Aksornnan's boyfriend was also punched and required emergency surgery the following day for a broken nose, Aksornnan told the local outlet.
Ponzu reportedly died of his injuries at the park.
Bystander video of the incident, which has since surfaced online, was given to police, according to Greenpointers.
In the video, a person who appears to be Aksornnan is swarmed by a group of people, one of whom can be heard telling her, "That's why you got no kids."
A scuffle ensues and the woman who appears to be Aksornnan is pulled to the ground, as one of the group appears to kick her.
According to the police, "On Sunday, April 4, 2021 at approximately 1651 hours police responded to a 911 call of an assault inside of McCarren Park within the confines of the 94th Precinct. Upon arrival police were informed by a 34 year-old female that she had a dispute with an unknown Hispanic female suspect when the suspect punched and kicked the victim causing cuts and bruises."
"A 50 year-old male intervened in the dispute and was struck with a closed fist to his face causing a laceration to his nose. The suspect then fled the location," the spokesperson adds, after confirming there is a "complaint report on file for an assault."
Evelyn Serrano, 42, was arrested and charged with assault on Wednesday in connection to the incident, the police spokesperson tells PEOPLE. It's unclear if Serrano has retained an attorney who can speak on her behalf.
Aksornnan said on Instagram that her family feels "robbed" and "Ponzu was taken away from us way too soon."
"We lost our beloved boy," she wrote in a tribute to the feline. "Ponzu was one of a kind, special. We fell in love with him from the first sight. He was gentle, caring, loving, playful, and handsome. He was curious and loved outdoors. He was well travelled. And he brought joy and smile to millions across the globe."
A GoFundMe has previously been set up to help with Ponzu's medical bills, but people have continued to donate after the cat's death. As of Wednesday evening, it has raised more than $2,000.