Residents are fighting against the Town of Hempstead's plan to move dozens of feral cats that have a home in Bellmore's Newbridge Road Park, according to an article in Newsday.
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.
Dominique Gizelle, a Bellmore resident of 20 years, said that she aganist the relocation.
"These cats have been there for 12 years and there have been no complaints from anyone until one resident complained last year," she said. "They have been there for 12 years with the town's blessing, they don't bother anyone and they are behind a fence. Moving them is a form of abandonment."
The cats' caretakers of about 12 years told Newsday that moving the colony of more than 30 cats could threaten their survival.
"Moving the colonies put the lives of the cats in danger due to possible starvation," said Joyce Christie, 71, of Bellmore, who cares for the cats along with Jennifer Jones, 67, of Merrick . "There is no guarantee that they will follow the feeding stations."
According to Alley Cat Allies, a national advocacy organization that is dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, the felines should only be moved if their lives are in eminent danger. The organization also said that since the cats are very attached to their territory, they will feel unprotected and try to return to their current location, which can threaten their survival.
Town spokesman Michael Deery told Newsday that the move is necessary since the areas where the feeders are located have begun to erode due to the Whaleneck River. He also said that the Nassau County Health Department is concerned because people have complained about cat droppings near the park's pool deck.
"The move is for the health and safety of the people at the park and for the cats," Deery said.