Rose H. Harvey, the commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said in a statement that the feral cats of Jones Beach do not belong there so reports newsday.com.
In making that declaration she brings to an end a long running court battle brought by the Virginia-based American Bird Conservancy (ABC) in which they argued that the approximately 30 cats were killing rare piping plovers, a small endangered bird.
But early on in proceedings (June 3rd 2016) the New York Federal Court dismissed ABC’s application on the grounds that ABC had failed to prove that the cats were killing the birds (source: Alley Cat Allies). There was obviously a lack of evidence. Indeed piping plover numbers were increasing.
Since then something changed. Alley Cat Allies say that numerous studies tell us that removing cats from an area is misguided and inhumane and it does not work to reduce feral cat numbers. They argued that the cats and birds coexisted harmoniously.
Now ABC have agreed with the park’s management that the colony of cats will be removed from Wantagh’s Jones Beach State Park and placed in a sanctuary or no-kill shelter.
I have doubts that this will result in humane treatment of the cats. I sense that some if not all will end up being euthanised. If that happens there will be nothing humane about the process.
The agreement (a court approved settlement) was signed by the judge in this matter: U.S. District Judge Arthur D. Spatt.
The agreement is made against the background that there is no evidence that feral cats are preying on piping plovers. It would appear that the agreement was politically driven. It certainly was not supported by evidence.
It is likely feral cats will return and then what?