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TOH Places Relocation of Bellmore Cat Colony on Hold

The Town of Hempstead will work with the Humane Society to come up with solutions.

The Town of Hempstead placed the relocation of the Newbridge Road Park cat colony, scheduled for Tuesday, on hold. The town will work with the Humane Society to assess the colony at the park and to explore options concerning the habitat where the cats have settled.

No action will be taken until the Humane Society looks at the situation, consults the town and offers its recommendations.

Town spokesman Mike Deery told Newsday that the town originally wanted the move to take place because 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.

Joyce Christie of Bellmore and Jennifer Jones of Merrick have been taking care of the felines for about 12 years. Both women said that moving the colony of more than 30 cats could threaten their survival.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the town said they want to make sure that both the park users and the cats are safe.

"The goal of the town is to ensure the health and safety of children and adults who use the park in addition to providing for the well-being of the feral cats."

Jones and Christie said that they were thrilled with the decision.

"I am totally relieved," Christie said. "I think that it is a sign that they are going in the right direction."

"This is just awesome," Jones said.

On Tuesday morning, the two women were in the park and doing their daily ritual--feeding the cats. They said that they were told by a park official that the move did not have to take place.

Jones' and Christie's lawyer, Liz Stein of New Hyde Park, said that the town made the right decision.

"I am very happy to hear this because the relocation should be a matter of last resort," Stein said. "They would be removing them from their shelter that they have grown accustomed to their whole lifetime and be exposed to elements and people who don't have their best interests at heart."

Christie and Jones said that they are grateful to all of the people that stood behind their cause and to the individuals that protested against the relocation on Sunday. 

"These people have stood behind us and we are so thankful," Jones said. "I hope this decision is permanent."

djw May 06, 2012 at 12:40 PM
TOH made the right decision.
Lala May 06, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Eleanor: Of course feral cats pose a threat to someone: rhe wildlife that they eradicate. I see no one mentions this or even cares about the lloss of chipmunks, rabbits, burds and other animals that acrually BELONG outside. These cars could be removed and set up in a nice cat refuge, where all feral cats could be relocated to. This way the natural inhabitants can recover. They do this in other regions of the country. Feral cats are death to an ecosystem, people.
Amy May 06, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Why thank you S for noticing Airs comments (copy and paste) are over a decade old and hold no scientific relevance. :) happy the town finally backed off...and hopefully it stays that way!
EB May 06, 2012 at 08:33 PM
I have a question or two. If these cats have been spayed/neutered then how has the colony grown? And since it has grown apparently because of people "dumping" their pets, then how is it dangerous to move the feeding station? Wasn't the "feeding station" of those pets moved when they were dumped? They have obviously managed to adapt. And i have seen more raccoons eating the cat food than cats in the past. It sounds like the move is more inconvenient for the cat ladies than the cats.
Carol Press May 09, 2012 at 07:12 PM
call TOH Ray Rhoden or John Bentivenga 292-9000 ext 208 or ext 201 to voice your concerns in our public parks

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