By Jason McDowell Creative Director Published Apr 01, 2015 at 12:00 AM

Neighborhood associations are groups of residents or property owners who advocate for, or organize activities within a neighborhood. Often, members congregate on internet forums to chat, ask questions and solve problems, but on Tuesday, it was discovered that the Riverwest Neighborhood Association Facebook page – the neighborhood’s forum of choice – was actually just a bag of cats and dogs.

"It was weird," said Riverwest resident Jackson Laternau who made the discovery. "I went onto the Facebook page for our neighborhood association to ask if anybody knew where I could find some ginger root seeds, but the response I got was akin to a cat starting a fight with a sick dog."

That nagging suspicion didn’t end there.

"When I stepped away from the computer, the sound of howling and hissing persisted. When I opened my back door, it got louder and, heading out into the alley, I finally found the source."

It was a large black garbage bag, filled with dozens of cats and dogs.

"It looked like they were trapped and trying to get out. I panicked! I thought, ‘Who would leave a bunch of animals inside a bag out in the alley?’"

But when Laternau rushed in to open the bag and let them free, they attacked him instead.

Two cats and three dogs jumped out of the bag with claws out and fangs borne. Laternau was eventually able to walk away with two dog bites and three claw marks on his hands and upper forearms.

"After I got away I turned around to see if they were going to chase me, but they just got back into the bag," Laternau said, confused. "It really looked like they were trying to kill each other, but I dunno, maybe they actually like it in there."

Police suggest that if you see the Riverwest Neighborhood Association bag of cats and dogs, you should approach with caution, or avoid it altogether.

Reactions by other Riverwest residents to the discovery that their internet community was actually a garbage bag full of felines and canines were mixed.

"Huh," said Stacy Seinkowicz, who seemed curious, but not surprised. Seinkowicz, a queer anarchist who changes apartments yearly, is also a member of other area neighborhood associations. "I guess I always had a suspicion in the back of my mind. The group doesn’t really react in the same way other neighborhood associations do."

"I guess that explains the hissing and yowling I heard when I posted about my lost dog," said Alexis Way, another resident. "I was hoping for a little help, but I was mostly just subjected to a bunch of catty, bitchy comments."

UPDATE: The latest reports indicate that some of the cats and dogs may have left the original bag and have taken up residence inside a garbage can two houses down.

Jason McDowell Creative Director

Jason McDowell grew up in central Iowa and moved to Milwaukee in 2000 to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

In 2006 he began working with OnMilwaukee as an advertising designer, but has since taken on a variety of rolls as the Creative Director, tackling all kinds of design problems, from digital to print, advertising to branding, icons to programming.

In 2016 he picked up the 414 Digital Star of the Year award.

Most other times he can be found racing bicycles, playing board games, or petting dogs.