Archive for the tag 'pets'

Members of the 25 strong cat colony on Plumb Beach (Photo by Lisanne Anderson/Flickr)

You didn’t actually think we’d get through this story without a headline pun did you?

The National Park Service (NPS) has agreed to give more time to cat enthusiasts to remove a sizable colony of feral cats from the Plumb Beach federal parkland, and is even considering offering manpower and assistance in their relocation.

Doug Adamo, the chief of Natural Resource Management for Gateway National Recreation Area told Sheepshead Bites that he’s been inundated with calls and e-mails about the 25-cat colony they planned to remove this Friday, with nearly as many people supporting the plan as opposing it.

But they also heard directly from the folks who’ve been caring for the cats, building what he called “cat condos that were constructed out of wood and cardboard,” and who fed, vaccinated and neutered them. As a result of their discussions, Adamo said Parks has agreed to hold off on dismantling the colony for another week, until June 20, to allow the group to explore long-term relocation options.

“Nothing’s going to happen on Friday. We did get in touch with the people that were taking care of the cats. We decided we would give them an extra week to try and place the cats, or there are a couple of options that they gave me that they were looking at,” said Adamo.

Adamo said NPS could potentially offer staff to help trap the animals and remove the debris, as well as a vehicle to transport them a short distance. He said the cat caretakers are looking at facilities in Maryland or upstate New York, among others.

“They’re saying they will help and they don’t want them to go to the shelters and they want them to go to places where they have more assurances that it will go to a permanent home, which would be a good win-win solution to the situation,” said Adamo.

feral-cat

The sign posted last week.

Contrary to the claims of cat lovers, Adamo said NPS never had plans to kill the cats. In most cases, colonies are dismantled as soon as they’re discovered and the cats are trapped and brought to local shelters for adoption, and just about every cat they’ve captured in the past has been assessed as adoptable by the shelters.

Normally there is no notice to the community, but he said that when NPS employees discovered the colony sometime in the last month, they were struck by its size and apparent maintenance, as well as the condition of the cats.

“In this case we noticed it was a large colony and they were healthy and cared for. We thought maybe we’d give them a chance to work with us on this and it appears that’s what we’re doing,” he said.

Despite flack from feline fans, Adamo maintained that removing the colony was essential to the parkland’s habitat.

“It’s our responsibility in the Parks Service to protect wildlife,” he said. “It’s a very difficult situation, especially here in New York, next to densely populated areas where non-native cats – and they’re all non-native – are always going to be coming into the park either by people bringing them there or by just wandering in.”

Even though they’re fed by humans, the cats still pray on area wildlife. The problem is even more urgent on Plumb Beach, a protected nesting ground for migratory birds including some endangered and at-risk species

“As land managers and natural resource managers for the park, [we must] do due diligence in protection of the wildlife,” said Adamo.

It doesn’t appear the decision has fully satisfied the cat enthusiasts. One of the colony’s caretakers, Nancy Rogers, has launched a petition online saying that the additional week now being granted is insufficient.

“The caretakers are willing to find homes for these cats but need more than the one week now allotted to accomplish this difficult task,” Rogers writes in the petition’s description. The petition launched yesterday afternoon and already has 193 supporters, and simply says “Stop the removal of the Plum Beach Cats.”

feral-cat

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.

Ariel Jasper is leading the fight to legalize ferret ownership. (Photo by Vanessa Ogle)

by Vanessa Ogle

There are dog people. There are cat people. And, now, there are ferret people.

For the first time since 1999, New York City is considering reversing a ban on ferret ownership in all five boroughs. Though ownership is legal throughout the rest of the state, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani enacted a citywide ban, which the Bloomberg administration defended.

But that hasn’t stopped residents from secretly owning ferrets.

So Sheepshead Bay resident Ariel Jasper, 23, was excited when Mayor Bill de Blasio took office. De Blasio, who seeks to ban horse drawn carriages from city streets, has already earned a reputation from animal rights activists as a more compassionate mayor for animal rights than his predecessors.

“Growing up, I had an interest in ferrets,” Jasper told Sheepshead Bites. “They were adorable.”

She’d been eager to stop the ban but didn’t feel that the Bloomberg administration would have been receptive. In early January, after de Blasio took office, she launched a Change.org petition that now has more than 380 supporters. Now Jasper, a master’s student at Brooklyn College, is the frontlines activist to overturn the ban and credited with prompting the change at City Hall.

On Tuesday, officials from the Health Department confirmed they would support lifting the ban.

Ferrets, though commonly misidentified as rodents, are actually part of the weasel family. They have a lifespan of between five and nine years and they have the same bite incident as a cat or dog.

“We allow very powerful dogs in our society,” Jasper said. “I don’t understand the double standards.”

Jasper feels that with ferrets—like all animals—it comes down to responsible pet ownership.

“You never leave any child unsupervised with any animal,” she said.

Her only concern about the legalization of ferrets revolves around impulsive pet store customers.

“Ferrets have an initial cuteness,” she said, but adds that they shouldn’t be purchased on a whim. “They need space and they require special care. They are not cage animals.”

Legalization could take place anytime between June and December. And when it does, Jasper plans on owning a ferret.

“Once everything’s legal,” she said.

Apple

Apple

Normally we’d relegate such posts to Facebook and Twitter, but these cats and their story (apparently, they were rescued from the basement of my now demolished childhood home after it sat empty for months. The developer left a window open, an warm invitation to some cold kitties), seemed to warrant a little extra attention.

From our reader SD:

These are the Bee kittens: Queen, Honey, Bumble, and Apple!

The first three were rescued in November while the house was awaiting construction. I caught Queen and Honey with ease, Bumble (the only boy) took several nights of waiting out in the cold before he was able to be rescued (during which I dealt with the crazy cat ladies, the p.o.’d homeowner, and even the cops). These three are about 20 weeks old, FeLV/FIV negative, dewormed, vaccinated, and spayed/neutered.

Apple-bee, the calico, was a part of a different litter and was rescued on the opposite end of the same street. She is about 18 weeks old. She is also FeLV/FIV negative, dewormed, vaccinated, and spayed.

Queen is the most outgoing and social of the bunch. She is fearless and wants to explore and play with everything. She purrs when people are near and likes attention. She had a prolapse which was treated by our vet and is now on the mend. A super vocal kitty.

Honey is a bit more skittish and quieter than her sister but still very sweet. If you have chicken baby food handy, she’ll quickly lose her shyness to come and lick it off your finger tips. She and Queen like to wrestle and would make an excellent pair.

Bumble has improved a lot since he was rescued. He had a surly demeanor and would hiss when hands would get close. However, he is such a gentle mama’s boy – he has never bitten or scratched. He has gotten over a lot of his initial fear and will purr indefinitely as he settles into a lap. He’s all black save for a little white on the end of his tail that we like to think of as his stinger.

Because Apple was rescued after the other Bees, we had to keep her separate from them. As such, she is the most shy but is learning to love human affection more and more. She enjoys being petted and playing with the other kittens when she’s not overwhelmed. She would do best in a quieter home.

The Bees can be adopted through K9Kastle animal rescue. In addition to the Bees, they have many cats and dogs available to adopt. The website is still being worked on (http://www.k9kastle.org) but anyone interested can check out their available pets at Petfinder  (http://www.petfinder.co/pet-search?shelterid=NY262) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/K9KastleRescue).

Because of their age, we prefer to adopt them either as a pair or into a home with an existing feline. There is an adoption application and as well as a tax-deductible donation. Interested parties should email K9Kastle@gmail.com.

Bumble

Bumble

Honey

Honey

Queen

Queen

Earlier this month we published an article on the feral cat situation in Coney Island, especially around the boardwalk. Josie Marrero, a local who founded a cat rescue program called Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella, spends much of her time taking care of the cats in the area. But as winter sets in and Sandy- and development-related construction in the area continues, her job has gone from maintaining a population to saving them. We previously wrote:

But now, they face an additional problem. Several abandoned Coney Island parking lots – a favored home of many feral felines – are in the process of being bulldozed, and with the winter chill in full-swing, many of the stray cats that have made these lots their sanctuary will again have to relocate. Already, the bulldozing has started at Surf Avenue and West 33rd Street.

All of which, Marrero explains in the video above, has turned the area into a “killing field” for the hundreds of cats. We put together the video above to chronicle Marrero’s efforts.

elite-pet

Okay, so it’s not that new. The owner of Elite Pets Spa at 2637 Coney Island Avenue tells me they opened shop about three months ago, which gives you an idea of how long it has been since I strolled down that corridor.

The store had a decent selection of pet supplies, once you get past the cage they make you stand in when you first enter.

Anyway, Elite Pets Spa replaces JM Auto Leasing.

 

In lieu of photos of the neighborhood’s loudest dogs, we bring you Biggie the Harlequin Great Dane, the neighborhood’s dreamiest dog. Photo courtesy of Albert Dashevky.

There is a dog that lives across the street from my apartment building. I can’t see this dog, and I have no idea what it looks like, and despite this, the dog and I have a very intimate relationship. Every time a truck rumbles by, or a police siren wails, or thunder crashes, this invisible dog barks incessantly for the next 45 minutes. In the back of mind I always wondered if this was the worst dog in existence, but now I know that he is not.

The honor for loudest dogs in the city belongs to two dogs living in Marine Park. The 9-year-old German Shepard Maxwell, and his next door neighbor Buddy, a five year old Beauceron, have racked up close to 20 complaints in recent years. The owners of the dogs have both received warning letters from the Department of Environmental Protection.

“I think its ridiculous,” barked Maxwell’s owner Joseph Butrico, to DNAInfo. “They have tickets for everything. They just make it up as they go along.”

“When someone invades their space, they are gonna bark,” said Buddy’s owner Ann Winters, equally strident in defense of her noisy pooch.

In case you are wondering if Maxwell and Buddy were both the source of each other’s maniacal barking, being that they share a fence, it couldn’t be further from the truth, according to Ann.

“[They] see each other through a part of the fence, and they kiss each other,” she said.

Obviously these two dogs have formed a mutual friendship based on driving their neighbors crazy.

Months after the February rescue of 23 Shetland Sheepdogs from a duo of Sheepshead Bay animal hoarders, the canines can now be adopted.

Since the initial bust, the dogs have been held as evidence against the couple. The dogs have been housed at several Animal Care & Control shelters and foster residencies throughout the city. The cost for the care of the dogs at AC&C totals around $85,000.

The couple struck a deal with prosecuters, pleading guilty to a single count of abuse, as opposed to 23 counts. As per the deal, the couple will forfeit all of the dogs over to the state, seek therapy, and never possess another animal again.

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Biggie the Harlequin Great Dane. Photo courtesy of Albert Dashevky

We received an email from reader and Sheepshead Bay native Albert Dashevsky, whose somewhat oversized furry companion is apparently quite the celebrity in the ’hood.

Albert emailed us some photos and, we definitely agree — Biggie, a one-year-old Harlequin Great Dane, definitely has star power potential. According to Albert:

He is pretty famous in south Brooklyn! He turns heads, causes traffic, and creates crowds! I figure I might as well use his celebrity and put him to work lol. I’m wondering maybe you guys can help net him a commercial or something of that sort? I read news on this site all the time so I figure[d] I’d ask.

What do you guys think? Is Biggie ready for Hollywood? Or maybe a viral video on YouTube?

More photos of Biggie are below the fold.

You don’t want to miss these photos!

Worried about Mercedes, the poor little kitten who was stuck in a car engine on Ocean Parkway a few weeks ago?

The video above shows that Mercedes, who was rescued and adopted by Antonio Rosario, is playing around and enjoying her new home. Life With Cats says that she is  feeling fine.

After the rescue, Rosario took Mercedes to the vet and discovered she had conjunctivitis and some other minor issues. However, she fortunately was not suffering from any serious illnesses. After resting and eating well, Mercedes has recovered and appears to be enjoying her new home.

The video, taken by Rosario, shows Mercedes running around the house, kicking and chasing a small purple ball. Much better than squealing and crying, squished up in a hot car engine don’t you think?

 

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