The above sign went up at Plumb Beach late last week, warning parkgoers that the National Park Service will be moving to “dismantle” cat colonies on the federal parkland this Friday, June 13.
(UPDATE [6/11/2014]: NPS is working with the caretakers and has granted extra time to relocate the animals.)
Plumb Beach is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, a stretch of federal parkland that’s home to countless migratory bird species and other protected wildlife like horseshoe crabs. With jurisdiction over the parkland split between federal, state and city authorities, no one is ever sure who’s responsible for maintaining infrastructure or cleaning up the garbage - but at least they figured out who is going to get rid of the cats, right?
But that’s got cat lovers rankled. Apparently, locals have been caring for a sizeable colony of about 25 cats, feeding, vaccinating and neutering them. They’re crying foul that these cats are being targeted, and that their caretakers have been given such short notice.
Lena S. wrote to us yesterday:
This is a posted flyer around the area that says the this Friday (in just 3 days) They will come in and euthanize all the stray cats that are living by belt parkway (Plum Beach area)! There are people here that were taking care of these cats for years and they are taken all neutered, well fed, vaccinated against rabies. This notice is unbelievably cruel and with only a few days notice! There are currently 25 cats there and they want to mass euthanize them.
Please help and promote this, we’re trying to save the kitties, they deserve to live there just like any other animal.
Marina G. wrote:
All these cats are spayed, neutered and fed. This colony has been around for many years. If there is any ecosystem at that beach, its between the rats and the cats, as locals call the beach “rat beach.”
Animal protection groups are trying to find a way to at least get more time to relocate this colony. The notice was posted 5 days ago.
On the heels of the cat abuse stories as well as our national outrage over Russia’s disposal of their cats and dogs during the Olympics, this may be a relevant read
The text of the sign does not say anything about putting the cats to sleep or otherwise “disposing” of them, although it’s certainly a possibility. In case you can’t make it out, it reads:
Feral cat colonies are prohibited on Federal property.
To ensure the health and safety of visitors and to protect habitat for native species including shorebirds, small mammals and reptiles this colony will be dismantled on Friday, June 13th.
We encourage those that have created this colony to remove it and the cats prior to that date.
Thank you for your cooperation in maintaining the health of our ecosystems.
Sheepshead Bites has reached out to the National Park Service to confirm that they posted the notice, and what methods will be used to “dismantle” the colony, including whether or not the animals will be exterminated. We’ll update this post when we receive a response.