Alley Cat Allies (ACA), the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, is very busy these days. They are trying to intervene on the behalf of the felines in Leesburg, New Jersey outside of the Bayside State Prison.
The Prison has once again refused to lift a feeding ban for the cats that are living on the prison grounds. This ban has been in effect now for the past two months. ACA has since called upon Governor Chris Christie to intervene on the felines’ behalf. They would like Christie to accept help from them and other local groups.
Unfortunately for the kitties, Bayside State Prison is the home to a colony of community cats. For the past decade, prison staff and inmates have fed and cared for the cats. In order to control the population better, Alley Cat Allies and other local animal organizations worked with Bayside State Prison last year to implement a state-sanctioned Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) program.
Suddenly, on October 9th of 2014, with absolutely no warning at all, the prison administration issued a feeding ban, jeopardizing the lives of the cats that had come to be dependent on food from the humans. Alley Cat Allies, the Humane Society of the United States, New Jersey Senator Jeff Van Drew, and nearly 25,000 of Alley Cat Alley’s supporters have all called the NJ Department of Corrections Commissioner Gary Lanigan to issue orders authorizing the immediate recommencement of feeding. The Commissioner has flat out refused so far to allow the cats to be fed.
It did not even faze him when ACA arrived at the prison on Saturday, November 8th with a supply of donated cat food. The group was turned away by the prison staff. The food that was donated by Alley Cat Allies via Amazon was also refused.
“Commissioner Lanigan is dismissing calls from within the prison, throughout New Jersey, and across the U.S. to end the feeding ban, thereby causing the cats to suffer,” says Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Commissioner Lanigan need only look to a neighboring correctional facility in New York as an example of the humane treatment of cats in a prison setting, where Rikers Island has effectively practiced TNR for community cats for over a decade.”
When people place feeding bans on animals is it cruel, but what many don’t realize, it is also ineffective! The TNR programs are the only scientifically proven, effective approaches discovered to date to deal with community cat (otherwise known as feral cats) populations.
The way that TNR programs work is that the felines are humanely trapped, brought to a veterinarian to be spayed or neutered. They also are vaccinated and eartipped, giving them the universal symbol that the cat has been spayed or neutered and vaccinated. By using the TNR process, the endless cycle of more and more litters of kittens being born.
As the weather continues to decline across the nation, and since NJ will be facing more snowy months ahead, it is imperative that the cats receive food and shelter as soon as possible. It is so important that Governor Christie do the right thing by these innocent animals! The people and organizations of NJ want Commissioner Lanigan to do the right thing by the cats and lift the feeding ban immediately and allow Alley Cat Allies to return to the prison grounds to provide the cats with long-term care by reinstituting the prison’s successful TNR program. Let’s hope he sees it in his heart soon to do the right thing before the Thanksgiving holiday!