Bob Quinn and his wife, Jeanne Quinn, have taken hundreds of walks in Newbridge Road Park over the years. They said that the cat colony in the park has never been an issue.
"Geese are more of a problem," Bob Quinn laughed. "We can't believe that the town has a problem with these cats now. It's never been brought up before."
The Quinns were among more than 30 people who protested against Hempstead Town's plan to move dozens of feral cats that live in Newbridge Road Park on Sunday.
Town officials want to relocate the cats' makeshift shelters and their feeding stations to the end of the park starting Tuesday.
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.
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.
"I am hoping that this relocation will not happen," Christie said. "I think that the issue can be resolved."
On a sunny afternoon, locals stood on Newbridge Road and Sunrise Highway and held up colorful signs that defended the four-legged creatures. A number of drivers who passed by, honked their horns in support.
Attendees of the protest said that the relocation of the cats is unnecessary and can be harmful to the felines.
"To hurt animals is not right," Jeanne Quinn said. "I don't think moving them is going to work."
Joe Blaustein of Bellmore agreed.
"They have been there for 12 years, why move them now?," he said.
Leigh and Lisa Harris of Freeport have been feeding cat colonies in Freeport for a few years. They said that what the town is planning to do is "horrible."
"They have been in the same spot for 12 years so why do this now?," Leigh Harris said. "Why hasn't this come up in 12 years? Cats are creatures of habit and they will not survive this."
Jones' daughter, Courtney Jones, came in support of the cats and her mother.
"My mother has been paying her own money for the food and neutering of these cats for 12 years and she has been minding her own business," she said. "I support her wholeheartedly. No one knows knows more about cats than she does and what they are doing is wrong."
Christie and Jones said that they are still hopeful that the relocation won't have to happen and that they were pleased with the turnout.
"We are so grateful for these people," Christie said. "I know that people who love animals have big hearts."
"People have been wishing us well," Jones said. "I am very pleased and very happy."