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Manorhaven Tackles Cat Problem

Village Plans to Ban the Feeding of Wild Cats

A public hearing was held on July 27 at Manorhaven Village Hall with regard to amending article 54 of the Village Code entitled Dogs and Other Animals. The amendment if adopted will implement a total ban on the feeding of feral cats in the village.

Manorhaven has had a continuing problem with wild cats, especially in the Manhasset Isle area. A number of residents feed these cats and also put out cat houses where cats can be sheltered in winter. The kindness of local residents has resulted in an increase in the feral cat population. These cats can be found walking in backyards and along streets. Some in the village believe that non-residents drop-off cats because they know that they will be taken care of by kindhearted residents.

During the hearing, Trustee Rita Dilucia voiced concerns regarding what will happen to the cats once people stop feeding them. Would they die on the streets of Manorhaven or become more aggressive, foraging in garbage? The other trustees, Mayor Michael Meehan and Village Attorney Gerard Terry acknowledged Dilucia’s concerns were valid. But in the end, all the trustees could see no viable alternative to a complete feeding ban. It is the hope of the trustees that the full ban in combination with the collection and neutering program during the breeding season will at least limit the growth of the feral cat population.

Several local residents spoke in favor of the law. Idie Perez asked that the code amendment specifically address the removal of cat houses and feeding receptacles which are currently found on public streets and unused properties such as Thypin Steel. Trustees responded that code enforcement officers and policemen from the 6th precinct will be able to remove the feeding paraphernalia, including the cat houses, and issue summonses. If homeowners want to feed a wild cat, they will have to take responsibility for the animal.

Non-compliance will result in steep penalties of more than $100 for a first offense and more than $500 for “serial feeders”.

The measure will be voted on at the August 25 meeting of the village trustees.