The administration of Bayside State Prison has banned the feeding of feral cats living on their grounds. The feeding of the cats is part of a taxpayer-funded, state-authorised TNR program
Bayside State Prison has been involved with cats for quite some time. In 2003 the prison was involved in constructing cat shelters for Animal Outreach.
Bayside State Prison, with other prisons, has also been involved with what appears to be a fostering operation to take on cats whose time at the local shelter has run out.
As part of their TNR program they were, of necessity, feeding the feral cats who live within the grounds of the prison.
Unexpectedly, prison management have decided to stop feeding the cats and banning anybody else who wish to assist in feeding them and that includes Alley Cat Allies who have been pleading with the prison management to recommence feeding which stopped over a month ago, as I understand it.
They appear to have given no reason for the ban on feeding the cats and, considering the long association that Bayside State Prison has had with cats, it seems particularly cruel to suddenly ban feeding especially in light of the fact that this is a state sanctioned taxpayer funded operation.
Some of these cats have been living within the prison grounds for over 10 years and clearly they have got accustomed to being fed. It is obviously cruel to suddenly stop and no doubt some of them are starving.
There’s been widespread outrage at this cat cruelty and despite pressure from Alley Cat Allies and the public through, for example, online petitions, the prison’s administration refuses to lift the feeding ban.
On one occasion, people from Alley Cat Allies turned up at the prison to deliver food for the cats but there were turned away unceremoniously.
The charity has consistently tried to have a dialogue with the prison’s administration without success.
It is difficult to understand what has happened at the prison to lead to this change in attitude.
It should be added that this is not only bad for the cats but also the inmates because in feeding cats and taking part in fostering programs the inmates have work to do. It is a kind of civic duty which is about rehabilitation, as is being associated with cats, because we know that cats are therapeutic and arguably they assist in the rehabilitation of prison inmates.
Bayside State Prison has been called by a former inmate “the worst of the worst” with respect to prison standards in the USA with particular focus on racism. It is alleged that the prison is administered by the most racist guards imaginable. And they administered beatings to the inmates we are told.
It is said that Bayside has its own practices and its own laws, which appear to be outside the general laws of the state of New Jersey. It is alleged that they operate a system of intimidation and fear.
This information goes against what we read about the prison’s long association with cats which obviously requires a gentle and ethical approach. The current position is confusing.
My thanks to Dee for telling about this story.
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