Thursday, April 08, 2010

ACTION ALERT: Brookhaven to Ban Feeding of Feral Cats

It is highly possible that Brookhaven National Laboratory located on Long Island, N.Y, presently owned by the United States Department of Energy but formerly by the Atomic Energy Commission Brookhaven is in the process of making it illegal to feed animals on most of the town’s land. Presently, Brookhaven has a ban, which forbids residents from feeding pigeons and waterfowl on beaches and parks, but they plan to take this a step further.

At the scheduled June 1 public hearing, the town will present their plans to broaden the ban to include all “wildlife and domestic animals” which will apply on all town's “nature preserves and designated open space,” according to documents filed at the Town Hall.

It will be against the law for Brookhaven residents to help any of the feral cat colonies by feeding them cat food or table scraps within town boundaries. Punishment for breaking the law could result in a fine of as much as $250 and 10 days in jail for each offense. These proposed stronger additions to existing laws have been designed to lessen the impact made on other species by predatory animals.

According to a news report, “Jane Bonner, a town Councilwoman said that the changes were proposed by the town's Feral Cat Committee created in 2008 when the nesting site for the rare pippin plover bird was threatened by ‘wild’ cats at Cedar Beach. However, at this time the feline population is under control in this location. Nonetheless, town officials are concerned about the cats remaining a problem in other parts of the town. Bonner feels that stronger laws will help protect the wildlife, but that law enforcement would be difficult, and said, ‘We're not supposed to bring domesticated animals into our parks and beaches anyway, but we do. Quite frankly I don't know how we're going to enforce it.’”

Well that says it all folks…a Councilwoman doesn’t even know how the town will enforce such a law, so why bother wasting taxpayer money and time creating such an outlandish law? Let’s fine people and throw them in jail for helping the cats and trying to improve the situation?? And the article even says that cat population is currently under control, so why change things? Preventing people from caring for feral cats will only make the situation worse! And I would like to know who is on this “Feral Cat Committee” because anyone who knows anything about cats knows that feeding bans do not work and are cruel to the animals.

Starving the cats will not improve the situation but make it worse. Now the town will have starving, malnourished cats more inclined to hunt, since their regular food source is being taken away; this will obviously not help local wildlife. Feeding cats is part of proper TNR programs; providing food ensures cats are healthy, less prone to diseases and parasites, and is necessary in trapping the cats to get them spayed/neutered.

Feeding bans are pointless and compassionate people will continue to feed and care for the cats even if it means risking punishment. I said it before and I will say it again: Individuals who feed stray/feral cats should NOT be blamed or penalized, but rather encouraged for their acts of compassion. City officials should be assisting them with the resources and information available to care for and sterilize these animals. After all, it is not necessarily their fault the cats are homeless; they are just trying to be upstanding citizens and do good for their community and for the cats. Caretakers use their own money to feed and sterilize feral cats, so it makes no sense to use tax-payer money to hand out fines and take people to court (or put elderly ladies in jail). Under current laws, indi­viduals and rescue organizations work everyday in a shadow of fear from being persecuted for helping animals, and we are tired of working this way. Again, it makes no sense to penalize people who are trying to improve the situation for homeless animals and for being involved in their communities. Out-dated laws HAVE to change and compassionate people should be encouraged to continue to take care of feral colonies.  

Please visit Care2's Petition Site to sign the petition started by the town’s compassionate individuals. 

 Also please contact Brookhaven’s Town Council to urge them NOT to change the current wildlife feeding ordinance. Tell them feeding is an important part of TNR programs and that feed cats are healthier and less likely to prey on local wildlife. 

Brookhaven Town Council
One Independence Hill
Farmingville, NY 11738
(631) 451-TOWN

(631) 451-6447, fax

Follow this LINK to click on each town council member’s photo to submit an online email form with your request.


Anonymous said...

The intro to this post is totally incorrect...Brookhaven National Laboratory has NOTHING to do with this proposal. It's a proposal by the Town of Brookhaven.

Alley Cat Rescue said...

Thank you for the information. I will look into it further. I got this information from a Hudson Valley news article.