I posted earlier this year about New York City having goals of becoming no-kill. This takes a community to make happen, and unfortunately the community does not always cooperate. Hopefully education can bring about cooperation, but for now, Port Authority of NY and NJ is rounding up feral cats at JFK airport and dropping them off at shelters, which is essentially a death sentence for those cats.
The cats sleep in makeshift cubicles made of plastic packing containers nestled in cargo carts that once carried transcontinental luggage but have been long retired from Kennedy’s runways. They gather under and around a rusted old fuel tanker truck.
Each year scores of dogs and cats are lost and found on Kennedy’s 5,000 acres. Some pets that are being transported may get loose. Also, people who live locally can easily drive onto airport property and get rid of their pets, and travelers facing exorbitant kennel costs may opt to simply abandon their pets before catching their planes. Some animals wander in from nearby.
From a different article:
The Port Authority has said the cats – between 50 and 75 of them – pose health and safety problems near the Delta Air Lines cargo area partly because food left for them attracts birds that can fly into jet engines. Animal advocacy groups including the ASPCA have offered to spay and neuter the cats and monitor them on site, a practice that has decreased feral cat populations elsewhere.
Some education is definitely in order.
If the birds are a valid issue in the debate, then there are ways of taking care of feral cat colonies that ensures no food is left out. The cats are fed, the feeder stays until the cats have eaten or until 15 minutes has passed, and the food containers are taken away. This is based off of a talk I heard at AR07 about TNR+. I admittedly have no experience with ferals, but what Share said in that talk made a lot of sense. If TNR+ was followed, there would be no food left out to attract the birds.
Second, if a colony is removed, another moves into take its place. It is apparently common knowledge that people are dumping animals on JFK airport property, and this means there will be a constant supply of new cats to take the place of the ones removed. This is not solving the problem, especially when there are feral cat groups already taking care of the ferals. Working with the airport employees, properly educated on feral cats, this issue could be straightened out in a way that would not mean death to the cats, and yet would alleviate the worries of the airport and port authority officials.
You can go to IDA and sign a form letter to be sent to the Port Authority. You can send your own. You can write a letter to the editor to the NY Times.
Please send letters.
Both cats whose pictures were featured in this post were rescued from the street.