North Hempstead is a town on Long Island. The town has a lot of feral cats needing help and a cat shelter to help with the overall cat population. They’re the only town out of 13 on the island not to have a facility people can bring their cats to. They also have what I call a hit-or-miss TNR program. Feral colony caregivers want that to change.
Let’s begin by learning about the current program for feral cats. The town operates a dog shelter in Port Washington where a TNR program is provided. But one day a month and doing 25 cats isn’t making much of a difference because we all know how quickly cats can breed and the situation gets out of control.
Since North Hempstead doesn’t have a shelter it means people will more than likely abandon pets they no longer want. Those cats, on their own, may eventually “go wild” and end up as semi-feral/feral.
Almost a dozen residents attended a town council meeting on January 29 where they told Supervisor Judi Bosworth that more resources need to be made available.
In an interview with Long Island Newsday Jack Hausman, president of the Great Neck-based Humane Urban Group ( a non-profit that captures and TNR’s the town cats stated:
“Many constituents who are concerned with the welfare of feral cats would love to trap them, but they do not because they have no place for recovery of the cats after surgery. We do have a robust TNR program. It’s not perfect. We strive to do better. We want to do better.”
According to Shawn Brown of the public safety commission, since 2011 the town has spayed and neutered around 3,000 cats and oversees the TNR program. He stated the animal shelter division would welcome expansion for the cats.
Not only would a cat shelter help the cats, but it would also help the feral colony caregivers who are spending outrageous amounts of money. One rescuer said a recent feline rescue cost her $3,900, which is more than her mortgage payment.
People need a place in North Hempstead where they can bring unwanted cats instead of just putting them out to try to survive on their own. They need a structured TNR program that’s available several days a week instead of only one day or so each month. And they need a shelter because many of the kittens trapped could possibly find forever homes on an adoption floor.
In 2009, then-Supervisor Jon Kaiman said the town would have a cat adoption program by 2010. An article detailing that can be found here. Officials hired a construction company to build a cat shelter, but the company sued the town, alleging it had not paid for the work. North Hempstead settled the case for $130,000.
The directory of North Hempstead town council members can be found here. It sounds like the town and the caregivers are working toward the same goal (please correct me if I’m wrong on that).
I can tell you from experience what it’s like to have a one day a month TNR clinic. It’s not easy and it’s not fun for anyone involved. The practicing veterinarian has to perform DOZENS of surgeries in an assembly line atmosphere. My area lost even that. Now cats have to be dropped off at 6:30 am and picked up after 5:30 pm. This can prove difficult for people with jobs. Plus the cats have to go on a 140+ mile trip to a TNR clinic.
Areas with successful TNR programs have seen a dramatic drop in litters. I wish North Hempstead all the best in getting a cat shelter built in the near future. A good video can be found on the cat shelter issue by clicking here.
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