Hempstead Town Criticized by Animal Advocates

A weekly look-in at news from around the Town of Hempstead.

Town Criticized for Handling of Feral Cat Colony

The Hempstead Town Board was criticized at Tuesday's meeting by several animal advocates, including two banned animal shelter volunteers, for its plans to relocate the two feral cat colonies in Newbridge Road Park in Bellmore.

Town officials want to move the cats, remove their makeshift shelters and relocate their feeding stations to the end of the park starting May 1.

According to Newsday [paid link], the town has cited "health and safety of the cats and park users" as the reasons for relocating the cat community.

One of the cats' caretakers, Joyce Christie, 71, of Bellmore, told Newsday [paid link] earlier this week that "moving the colonies put the lives of the cats in danger due to possible starvation."

Town Waiving Pet Adoption Fees for Mother's Day

On Saturday, May 12, the town is inviting everyone to salute mothers by adopting a pet at the town's animal shelter. The normal adoption fee will be waived for this event only.

All adopted animals will also receive free rabies vaccinations, spaying/neutering and microchipping.

Prospective pet adopters are also encouraged to bring treats and/or toys for the shelter animals; all those who do so will be eligible for a door prize. There will be raffles and baked goods for sale, with proceeds benefiting the "Tails of Hope Fund," an organization helping to fund extraordinary medical surgeries for dogs and cats.

"Mamma Mia, Pets Are Free-a" will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Hempstead Town Animal Shelter is located at 3320 Beltagh Ave. in Wantagh. For more information, call (516) 785-5220 or visit the shelter's website.

Laurie Lat May 02, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Name calling doesn't help. We are not crazy. We just care about animals and have open minds and we are not ignorant. Have a wonderful day.
Amy May 02, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Please do not quote PETA... They believe no one should have a companion animal and they kill everything that lands in their hands. I don't own a cat... But call me what you will. I'm good with that :)
Lala May 02, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Laurie: These cats are VERMIN. They should be rounded up and put to sleep. I know it sounds harsh, but you are being overly emotional because they are kitty-cats. Well, they are no longer kitty-cats, Laurie. They are feral. They eradicate REAL wildlife that has nowhere else to live. Of course people created this problem to begin with by letting their pets go outside and not spaying/neutering them, and by being incredibly inhumane and setting them "free", but this has expanded into a serious issue. I have 3 cats, all rescues, and I intend to keep them for life. They are never permitted outside. I walk the walk, Laurie. Now lets do the right thing and get these VERMIN off of public property. You wouldn't be protecting these animals if they were dogs, and you know it. Read the links provided by the other poster, please. Educate yourself. HAve a great day.
Lala May 02, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Laurie H: You are 100% correct. Thank you for your sensible posts. My previous comment was directed to Laurie LAT.
Laurie Lat May 02, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Laurie Lat May 02, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Lala, I am educated. I do walk the walk. I have rescued many animals. Please don't be condescending, it doesn't help.
Candygram for Mongo May 02, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Yes, we are trying to have a constructive dialogue here. Name calling and condescending behavior to others is extremely unhelpful. Mission completed #schoolingtrolls
Lala May 02, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Laurie Lat: I didn't say you were uneducated. I said to educate yourself. Another poster, for example, has gone to great lengths to provide informative links regarding the destruction feral cats have done throughout history and continue to do. People need to put their emotionalism aside and be practical. These cats do NOT belong in a public park, where they have eradicated the wildlife and are spreading filth and disease. It is really that simple. If these were dogs you would not be championing keeping them here. Perhaps people such as yourselves and the ladies who are enabling this feral cat colony can put your efforts towards trapping and releasing the colony in a refuge for animals like this. Away from fragile wildlife and away from humans. Perhaps funds can be raised towards that endeavour. I have seen this done in other states. Otherwise, they should be euthanized. Sorry.
Candygram for Mongo May 02, 2012 at 04:31 PM
mission completed #youhavebeenreportedaswell
An tUasal Airgead May 02, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Lala, I agree, this in-the-Park strategy is simply not in best interests of the general public.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Like too many of the comments here, those by "Just a Resident" are being made without an understanding of this very specific situation. These cats are in a very confined area secured by either an intact eight foot fence or water. Their source of food is within the secured area, as is their shelter, so they have no incentive to go elsewhere, even if they could. While it is true that some cats can scale an eight foot fence most of the cats in this colony are quite elderly and could not do so, even if they can a reason to do so, which they do not. It is extremely unlikely that any of the cats in this colony have been outside the restricted area in a decade. These cats are fed daily by two women in their seventies who have been doing so for many years. When the feed them they remove whatever poop they can and neutralize that which they cannot remove. The proposed location is far less secure and offers no advantage. Moving them would serve no positive purpose and it would put the colony at great risk of abuse and starvation.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:14 PM
The Health Department has not said anything about this being a health hazard. That is simply not true.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Kate is not a fool, and was probably not even directly involved at the beginning. Now that the issue has become more public and better understood (although, obviously, not by everybody) the move has been put on hold, a very correct action on the Town's part. Anybody who has been to the site and spoken to the people involved would see that there is no rational reason to move the colony. When the issue is fully investigated and understood at the Town leadership level they will most likely reach the same conclusion. Nobody (well, almost nobody) wants to make animals suffer needlessly.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:27 PM
These comments are totally inapplicable to the situation at hand. The colony has been in a very confined secured area for more than a decade. The area is relatively small; the cats are regularly very well fed by their caregivers; and while some hunting instinct may remain it is very unlikely that the cats have any negative impact on the local environment.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:35 PM
These cats are more contained where they are than in anybody's backyard. If feral dogs or rats were as docile, which they are not, I am sure that there would be people helping them also. These women are making a positive difference. Others created the problem by abandoning pets and these women are doing something to correct the problem, both by giving the animals decent lives and by keeping them away from the public.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:36 PM
@ Laurie Lat Well said.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:39 PM
All the cats in the colony at issue have be spayed or neutered.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:40 PM
These cats are being maintained at no cost to anybody other than the two women who care for them and those who voluntarily contribute.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:43 PM
@ Mary Smithstein There is no health risk. That was a false rumor, possibly deliberately placed.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:45 PM
@ Mary Smithstein If you were to visit the site and speak to the people involved you would see that everything that you fear is just not so.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Maurice, There are no tax dollars involved. There is no health hazard involved. There is no fear of starvation if the colony is left alone. All the cats in the colny have been "fixed." This is a very specific situation about which if you better understood the details you would most likely come to a different conclusion.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:52 PM
The colony in question is confined to a very small wooded area not close enough to any place anybody would legitimately be to have any effect on the local community.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:55 PM
All the cats in the colony in question have been spayed and neutered, and most are quite old and near the ends of their lives. Feral cats in a confined area so displaced from any legitimate human activity are no threat whatsoever to anybody.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 05:57 PM
@ Laurie H All the cats in questioned have already been spayed and neutered, and at no cost to any government. The two ladies who care for them have done it all.
Neil May 02, 2012 at 06:13 PM
What is most disturbing about so many of these comments is that too many are being made by people who clearly have no understanding of the specific situation at hand. There are, of course, people who have no compassion for other creatures, but the vast majority of people want to do the right thing. Repeating inapplicable generalities serves no purpose other than to announce one's ignorance of the specific situation under discussion. These animals are in a secured confined area far away from any place upon which they might have any effect. They are cared for by two animal loving ladies at their own expense and sometimes under difficult conditions. I cannot imagine anybody other than those who are innately cruel wanting to move the colony from where it is to where it is proposed to be if they fully understood the specific situation as it now exists.
An tUasal Airgead May 02, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Neil, it appears you clearly have no understanding of the specific situation at hand, when you post your comments! You posted- "There is no health risk. That was a false rumor, possibly deliberately placed." http://levittown-ny.patch.com/articles/hempstead-town-criticized-by-animal-advocates#comment_3208418 But copies of the Health Department inspection, posted on Patch, states among other things, "current conditions observed on this inspection are in violation of the Nassau County Public Health Ordinance." http://bellmore.patch.com/articles/residents-to-protest-against-relocation-of-cat-colony-in-bellmore-park#photo-9741809 http://bellmore.patch.com/articles/residents-to-protest-against-relocation-of-cat-colony-in-bellmore-park#photo-9741810 http://bellmore.patch.com/articles/residents-to-protest-against-relocation-of-cat-colony-in-bellmore-park#photo-9741812
Neil May 02, 2012 at 09:24 PM
I have no doubt that there are things somewhere that are "in violation of the Nassau County Public Health Ordinance," but nothing that was caused by the cat colony outside the fence at Newbridge Road Park. An tUasal Airgead (and if somebody is going to use a name other than his or her own something simpler should have been chosen) and I see the world through different eyes. A direct on-site observation of the situation and a detailed discussion with the people involved would make it abundantly clear to anybody with an open mind that the cat colony that those two ladies sustain is no threat to anybody and no threat to the environment. Feral cats in residential neighborhoods can, indeed, be a problem, but none of the reasons that they might be a problem apply to this situation. This article has been superseded by one dated May 1st and any further comments I make will be made there.
Lala May 03, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Neil: The forested area you refer probably been picked clean if songbirds, chipmunks, voles and rabbits, to name a few. Do you not consider this a negative impact?
Neil May 03, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Paul, I am not sure whose side you support on the specific issue at hand. All the cats in the colony have been neutered or spayed, and all are confined to a small secured area far enough away from any normal human activity to make any interaction with humans very unlikely even if they could get out of the secure area. Free roaming cats, which these are NOT, can be a problem, but that is an issue beyond the scope of the series of comments, or at least it should be.
Neil May 03, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Lala, I was in the area and I saw no chipmunks, voles, or rabbits, but I did hear birds and I think that I did see other signs that there were birds in the area. However, I saw no chipmunks, voles or rabbits anywhere else in the entire part area. Have you been there? Did you see any more wildlife elsewhere in the partk area? How would moving the colony from the relatively confined area it now occupies to the much more open area proposed help wildlife?


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