Letter: Chasing Your Tail

Local feral cats (Photo by Anthony Murray)

The Town of North Hempstead Animal Shelter is a wonderful organization, doing lots of adoptions for homeless dogs, as well as many community outreach programs concerning proper dog ownership. What it does not provide, however, is cat adoptions, nor does it accept cats in need of new homes. In fact, out of the nine municipal shelters on Long Island, it is the only animal shelter that doesn’t accept cats.

Additionally, it has one licensed humane trapper to service all of the Town of North Hempstead. This seems most inefficient, especially when you consider that un-neutered cats can have as many as two litters per year, each litter averaging six to 10 kittens each, and that each of those kittens, who will reach breeding age between four and 10 months of age, can then themselves go on to produce as many as two litters a year.

These numbers are staggering. How can the town realistically expect one licensed cat trapper to efficiently service an area that covers roughly 70 square miles? How can they expect inexperienced citizens to trap, transport, monitor for surgical after effects and then release, what may look cute but are effectively, wild animals?

It seems the town has gotten behind some great things as of late, including sunscreen dispensers at local parks and releasing quails to combat ticks on the new shoreline trail.

But now, it’s time for some long overdue attention to be paid to the feral cat problem.
If the town truly wants to get ahead of this issue, it needs to hire more trappers. It needs to enlist more clinics to help with the spay and neutering of these cats. It needs to do more community outreach and education to help citizens understand that putting out a dish of food for these poor creatures, who, by the way, have generally short and terrible lives, is just not enough. Mostly, it needs to expand its current shelter operations to provide the housing for, and promote the adoption of, cats in the Town of North Hempstead.

Please call or email our town supervisor Judi Bosworth and councilman Angelo Ferrara to ask what’s being done about this issue.

When you consider how prolific feral cats are and what little the town has done to provide for their safety and, by extension, ours, it’s a little like chasing your tail.

—Neal Citro


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