Alert/Update: Port Authority Now Starving JFK Cats (10/31)
Alert/Update! Port Authority Now Starving JFK Cats! (10/31)
10/31/2007 4:49:45 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time
for immediate release (please cross-post)
contact: Neighborhood Cats
PORT AUTHORITY THREATENS TO FIRE EMPLOYEES CAUGHT FEEDING CATS AT JFK AIRPORT AS EXTERMINATION EFFORT INTENSIFIES
AGENCY MAY BE IN VIOLATION OF STATE ANTI-CRUELTY LAW
(New York, Oct. 31, 2007) Susan Baer, General Manager of JFK Airport, threatened in a recent memo to revoke the right of any employee to be on airport grounds who is caught feeding cats. (For full memo: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/nyregion/city_room/20071030_AIRPORT.pdf .) The NY State anti-cruelty law (http://www.animallaw.info/statutes/stusnyag_mkts332_379.htm%20/%20s353 ) provides that a person who "deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, food or drink, or neglects or refuses to furnish it such sustenance or drink" is guilty of a crime (Ag&Markets, sec. 353). Cats are dependent on people for food and drink and, by ordering their sustenance be withheld, Baer may have committed a criminal offense.
In addition to starving the cats, Port Authority officials continued their extermination effort by trapping some and dumping them at a local shelter. Typically, feral cats are immediately euthanized at animal control due to being unadoptable and a safety risk to staff. Thanks to the heroic efforts of NYC Feral Cat Initiative staff, the cooperation and veterinary care provided by Animal Care and Control of NYC, and caring volunteers, the first ten cats caught in the Port Authority's purge were pulled alive from the shelter. A grant to cover the costs of saving this first group was provided by In Defense of Animals (IDA).
"It's a true inspiration to see the NYC community coming together to rescue these victims," said Bryan Kortis, Executive Director of Neighborhood Cats. "At the same time, what an outrage that the cause of this travesty is a powerful government agency which has not only defied the community's will, but repeatedly and boldly lied to its face."
In the face of tens of thousands of emails, faxes and phone calls protesting their actions, the Port Authority continues to tell the public none of the cats will be killed, despite the likelihood many in the very next group of cats will be euthanized as local groups and rescuers exhaust their resources. They continue to invoke the scare tactic of the cats being an "aviation threat" despite a complete lack of evidence and growing skepticism of the claim. They continue to lie that they never heard of TNR until recently despite a series of emails from 2004 (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/30/missed-opportunity-on-airport-cats-in-2004/) proving the contrary. And they continue to hide from the public, automatically deleting emails and changing phone numbers.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
Each passing day brings ever more outrageous conduct by the Port Authority - this is not only about the precious lives of the cats anymore, but about the accountability of people who have forgotten they are public servants. We need you to raise your voice once more, loudly and strongly, and let others in the government know your opinion of the extermination effort and the Port Authority's morally bankrupt conduct. It is our last hope for these cats. No matter the outcome, we as citizens must not lie down and be trampled upon by the arrogance of those who have lost their way and will soon have blood on their hands.
WHO TO CONTACT
(Please let us know if anyone requests more detailed information on the issues and we'll send it to them)
Anthony R. Coscia, Chairman
Board of Commisioners
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Phone: 732.846.2120 (direct line)
732-846-7600 (this is the general number for Mr. Coscia's law firm)
Robert E. Wan Etten, Inspector General
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Main Office: (973) 565-4340
24-Hour Pager: (917) 788-6277
FAX: (973) 565-4307
The Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Governor, New York
Email: go to http://www.ny.gov/ and click on "contact us" at the bottom of the page
The Honorable Mary Donahue, Lieutenant Governor, New York
The Honorable Helen Marshall
Queens Borough President, Chairman - Airport Community Advisory Board
Port Authority Corporate Headquarters
(212) 435-7000 (get a live person on the line and demand to speak tosomeone about the JFK situation - keep calling until they respond)
"The cats will all be adopted into good homes."
Feral cats are unadoptable and usually are immediately put down when brought to shelters, as Port Authority plans to do. Port Authority ADMITTED LYING to the public about this in the NY Post article, "Frequent Liars", published Saturday, October 27, 2007.
"Feeding the cats attracts seagulls and the birds are an aviation threat."
Seagulls are at the airport because JFK is NEAR THE OCEAN!! And because there are tons of trash strewn about the airport's grounds. There is not enough cat food to attract large numbers of birds and there is no food left anyway when the cats finish eating. Cats hunt birds, they don't attract them. There is ZERO evidence proving a link between the presence of cats at an airport and an aviation risk. DON'T BE GULL-IBLE!!!
"A cat will go onto the runways and cause a plane to crash when it hits the cat."
The cats are not located anywhere near the runways. No cat has ever been spotted on any runway. Runways could be easily fenced to keep cats out if this actually was a legitimate concern, which it's not. Ever seen or heard of a jet hitting a cat?
"We can achieve a cat-free airport."
You can't wipe out the presence of feral cats in a 5000 acre area in which new, unneutered cats are constantly being abandoned or lost and then reproducing, and where there are plentiful food sources. Only Trap-Neuter-Return can, over time, reduce the numbers. The Port Authority's extermination effort is futile and will only result in new furry faces, not fewer. The killing is senseless.