Investigating Westfield Homeless Cat Project, Part 1: Westfield Woman Runs Questionable Cat Shelter, Takes Credit For Good Samaritans Spending Hours Digging A Kitten Out Of A Storm Drain So She Could Adopt It Out For $400

Who doesn’t love a feel-good, heartwarming story? Take for instance, this kitten rescued from a storm drain by a dedicated cat shelter in Westfield, MA:



“WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A kitten was rescued from inside a gutter drain in West Springfield Thursday morning.

According to West Springfield Deputy Fire Chief Steven Manchino, a kitten was trapped in a six-inch PVC pipping that extends 20 to 30 feet into the ground behind the Dinn Brothers business on Interstate Drive Wednesday night.

According to the Westfield Homeless Cat Project Adoptions, the kitten, who they named piper, was rescued around 6:30 a.m. from a pipe that was six feet underground. The kitten was 30 feet into the pipe.

Bill Colson of Bill’s Sewer and Drain helped get the kitten out of the pipe.

Manchino told 22News that himself, and four other members of the fire department, spent two hours on Wednesday evening trying to get the kitten out. He said they popped manhole covers in the area, but could not remove the cat.

The Fire Department left food and dropped a rope with knots on it into the pipe so the kittens could climb out on their own.”


Heartwarming, isn’t it? Well, maybe it would be….if true. But the reality of the situation is a little different….

“So I’m going to set the record straight about the kitten that fell down the pipe behind Dinn Brothers. Feel free to share . So after the fire department valiantly spent a couple hours trying to get the kittens out and did everything they could I came across the first post in the picture section posted by Westfield homeless cat project and felt obligated to act . I immediately called and Denise from Westfield homeless cat project answered , she gave me the address and gave me a vague rundown of the situation and it was obvious she hadn’t been there first hand . So I did what any guy would do and called my best friend Tony Sorcinelli and explained the situation to him and I got there to pick him up around 830 and we then did our own assessment of the situation and were joined shortly after by 3 plumbers one of which was Garrett Richard from 1st American Sewer and Drain and another volunteer Danny Shenefield (Charlie brown) and a anonymous Dpw worker who came to help , They were all volunteering their time to try to rescue the kitten . after putting a drain snake with a camera down the hole we were able to determine that the pipe had either collapsed or was clogged and wasn’t in use anymore and we located the kitten about 7 feet down in the pipe which had no outlet and ran parallel w the building about 6-7 feet down . After diagnosing the situation the guys from 1st American called Denise from Westfield homeless cat project and explained the situation and there was no way to get it out without digging and cutting it out. Denise told us to leave the property. We told them we were staying and not acting under the direction of Denise and we weren’t leaving until we get the Kitten out. Around 10 pm all parties left except for Tony and myself . For liability purposes they decided to leave which I completely understand . So Tony and myself started digging . It was literally through rock and clay . We had to use a crowbar to dislodge the rocks because they were so stuck in the clay .Apparently word got back to Denise from Westfield homeless cat project who called the police on us and told us to fill in the hole after we got 5 feet down with another 2 feet to that kitten . We explained via the police to Denise who had her on the phone that we were only 2 feet from the kitten and it was almost rescued DENISE WANTED US TO BURY THE KITTEN ALIVE AGAIN and told the police to tell us to leave the premises . She sent her employee Paul with a crate for the kitten in case we had caught it because as Tony and I later found out that it’s nothing more than a $400 asset to them. Nothing more nothing less. So we started filling in the hole . After filling in about 2 feet of the dirt Michael Dinn of Dinn brothers trophies showed up and trumped Denise from Westfield homeless cat shelters orders and told us to get the kitten out . I promised him the hole would get filled in and the police vouched for our integrity to do so. So we dug a total of 6.5 hours till we reached the pipe in Spite of Westfield homeless cat shelters attempts to bury the kitten alive again . During this time Paul from the shelter watched us dig and literally did not lift a finger to help us .He seems like a ok guy but it became obvious to Tony and myself that they see the kittens and cats as a tool to make money and they were worried we would rescue the kitten and place it in another organizations care so he literally watched us while we worked and had his crate right next to him because god forbid afterthwarting our efforts to save the kitten we succeeded and it got placed in another shelter and they lose the $400 kitten and the press that goes along with it. So Tony and myself reached the pipe and we cut a foot long section out with the sawzall So the cat could get out and was free if it decided to make its way back the other way . the noise from the sawzall Scared it to the other end of the pipe . At that point it was 430 am so I contacted someone in Dpw I know and explained the situation and what they would need to finish the job . Basically you need a 100 foot drain snake to gently push the kitten toward the opening and it’ll only take about 10 min at the most to do so we just didn’t have a 100 foot drain snake . I told Paul my contact at Dpw had been notified and would get out there as soon as possible in the morning to finish the job and get the kitten. This proved to be a big mistake in my part because now they know that means west Springfield animal control would most likely be called and because of the Westfield homeless cat projects reputation they knew the kitten wouldn’t be placed in their care so they rushed to get another plumber out to volunteer their time before the Dpw got there. Kudos to the plumber who I don’t know but judging by the fact he took a photo of the cat with his business logo he did it for press and not because it was the right thing to do. Now Westfield homeless cat shelter leaves the scene with the kitten , doesn’t fill in the hole and the plumber who “Rescued” the kitten couldn’t be bothered to spend 10 minutes mending the pipe so obviously Dinn brothers were pissed because now they have a pipe that needed to be fixed and a hole that needed to be filled. Did Westfield homeless cat shelter fill it in or attempt to . Of course not , they had their $400 kitten and were ready to take credit for everyone else’s hard work while not lifting a finger. In fact they went to the police station when they heard the Dinn brothers were upset the hole didn’t get filled in and the pipe fixed and filled out a report stating we were responsible so we would be sued if they decided to go that route. Once we found they hadn’t done anything to fill the hole or mend the pipe Tony and myself as men of our word went back to Dinn Brothers that night to fill in the hole and fix the pipe .To someone who doesn’t know the whole story they looked like heroes and took the credit and will get donations because to the outside looking in they made it look like they actually did something when the only thing they did was make a post to draw attention to the kitten. The point of this post isn’t to take credit for rescuing the kitten, honestly Tony and myself don’t care , it’s to expose the shady business practices of Westfield Homeless Cat Project. That cat was saved in spite of them not because of them. There is no doubt in my mind if Tony and myself hadn’t taken the initiative and dug it out that cat would still be there and would very likely have been dead or drown in the pipe because it rained the next day. After some people heard through the grapevine about this I was also messaged by multiple people stating Denise and Westfield Animal project had trapped their pet cats and refused to give them back and people that volunteered there in the past stated any indoor/outdoor pet cat she traps and doesn’t return them to their owner even if they are microchipped. She basically flips them and calls it adopting . While I haven’t seen this firsthand at least 20 people who have either volunteered there or had their pet indoor outdoor cat trapped by them have messaged me telling me this so I’d say it’s pretty safe to say it’s true . I was told her reasoning is that if you allow your cat to be an indoor outdoor cat you aren’t truly taking care of it . The true reason is she sees the cat as an asset she can sell for a profit .DO NOT SUPPORT THE WESTFIELD HOMELESS CAT PROJECT IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM.

*** UPDATE *** I just want to make it clear I’m sure this organization does good as well. not all the workers are monsters and I’m sure their heart is in the right place but a lot of the things that have come to light in the comments and experiences like mine during all this are very concerning and disturbing to say the least .”


The TL;DR of it is, Westfield Homeless Cat Project put out this request for help recovering the kitten:
To which the above good Samaritan responded, and started digging for hours upon hours.
When the business owners appeared to object to the digging, the shelter’s owner, Denise Sinico, instructed the volunteers to stop digging and fill in the hole, essentially burying the kitten alive. This is reflected in the police report for the incident.
The cat was eventually recovered with the Dinn Brothers’ blessing, no thanks to Denise Sinico and her “cat shelter”, who didn’t want the town or animal rescue involved……
….So they could later put the kitten up for adoption, for a reported $400. Cash only.
When confronted with the facts being put out in a very public Facebook post, Denise went into full damage control mode, claiming to have no prior knowledge of what had transpired, despite being named in the police report, and the original post coming from a post made to her shelter’s Facebook page.
The deflection, the defensive reaction, the insistence that all she does is good, philanthropic work despite comments like this popping up:
Sound familiar? Apparently, according to one comment, the cat shelter was even a….daycare previously.
Where have we heard this before? 
This is a lot of information to process through, so this is going to have to part one in a multi part series. Tomorrow we’ll get into some of the allegations of the shelter’s adoption procedures, condition, and history. I’ve tried to reach out to Denise for comment with no luck thus far, though my messages might be in her filtered folder, to be fair. If she sees this and would like to comment, I can be reached at [email protected].

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One Comment

  1. Wow!!! I hope you’ll decide to take a look at everything they’ve done to save thousands of cats through the years. Shame on you for only reporting one side of this story. She has literally given up her house and just about everything to keep this going. Unbelievable.

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