Pest controller removes feral cat colony without notifying colony caregivers

A feral cat colony of 12 cats had established itself on the site of Industry City in Brooklyn, a large 40 acre complex of small businesses and light industry.

Feral cats at Industry City
Feral cats at Industry City — Photo obtained by NY Daily News.
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Inevitably some kind people working at the site ended up caring for the cats. They become attached. The cats become part of the fabric of the complex and the way of life of their caretakers. I don’t know if they practiced TNR but we do know the cats became the companions of those who cared for them.

Then unannounced and without notifying anyone involved with the cats the managers of Industry City paid a pest controller and exterminator, Squash Exterminating, to remove the cats. The cats were trapped and dumped near Leif Ericson Park and Gerritsen Park.

“My heart was wrenched out of my chest” said Jennifer Petito, 32, who works as a security guard at the complex. She cared for the cats and “They were part of me”.

“I have grown attached to them” said Mariana Nuziale who rents a studio at the complex.

The CEO of Industrial City, Andrew Kimball, has admitted the error. He has apologised.

“We apologize for any unintended harm that was done to the feral cat community, and have terminated the contract with the service provider that did not follow established protocols and practices…..We are working with animal advocacy organizations and care providers to ensure the well-being of the cats. We expect that an appropriate remedy will be in place soon.”

Squash Exterminating were not prepared to comment.

Kathleen O”Malley of the NYC Feral Cat Initiative says that the actions of the pest controller were illegal. The cats should have been taken to a shelter. Although I am sure the outcome could have been worse at a shelter if they are genuine feral cats. The best outcome is to bring them back to Industry City.

The NYPD Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad is investigating. It seems that it could be deemed to be cat cruelty because the cats were dumped in an unfamiliar place after being cared for, including fed, in a well established colony.

The politician who is pushing for a ban on declawing in NY state, Linda Rosenthal, said:

“To people who care for them and visit them, they are not just stray cats…they are part of their lives.”

Linda is planning to introduce legislation to make it mandatory to notify caretakers of feral cats about plans to remove them. And there will be increased penalties for the sort of thing that happened at Industry City.

Pest controllers see feral cats as pests to be removed or eliminated, volunteers caring for feral cat colonies see feral cats as sentient beings put there by humans and therefore they demand our respect and humane treatment. Whose has the correct attitude?


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