When a resident at the Aloe Village Senior Complex in Galloway, NJ called a local news station for help with 50 to 100 feral cats that were overrunning the community, she had no idea it would lead to the senseless death of six newborn kittens. Ironically the tragedy opened the eyes of the residents to the sad dilemma feral cats face and is bringing the community together to work with cat advocacy group, Alley Cat Allies to save the lives of the remaining animals.
The innocent call from a woman named Evelyn about feral cats using residents’ porches as bathrooms, leaving foul odors and biting one senior citizen prompted an immediate response to the complex by Raymond Lane of Animal Capture and Control Services.
With traps in hand, Lane, Evelyn and a news crew walked around the complex inspecting the situation. Noticing rustling under a bush, Lane crouched down and pulled out six tiny kittens that were only a few days old.
He put the kittens into a carrier and told the news reporter, while the camera was rolling, “That’s another six cats that aren’t going to be breeding.” He told Evelyn the captured cats would go to the Atlantic County Animal Shelter where it would be determined if they were “fit for adoption.”
Later that day all six of the kittens were euthanized.
Shelter veterinarian Andrea Ceremele released this statement, “Any kitten under the age of 3 to 4 weeks is in danger of starvation if they do not have the means to feed every 2 to 3 hours. Unfortunately the shelter is inundated with young kittens. In the shelter setting we do our best to find alternatives to euthanasia. The amount of kittens we see typically outweighs our resources and so we are left with the only humane solution to prevent starvation.”
Outraged over the pointless death of the kittens Becky Robinson, co-founder and president of Alley Cat Allies said, “Six newborn kittens have been ripped from their mothers and ‘euthanized’ at the shelter. This cruel approach is not humane and it is not a solution.”
The group offered their services to property managers at Aloe Village to organize a Trap-Neuter-Return program that will spay/neuter and vaccinate each cat and assist with adopting kittens and friendly cats. The community readily accepted the plan.
Evelyn and the other neighbors were thrilled with the news. No one at the complex had ever heard of TNR programs, but they are now happy to help.
Aileen Walden, director of community programs and support for Alley Cat Allies explained this is a common problem. “People are not aware of TNR and they do not know what happens to the animals when they call animal control. The residents at Aloe Village wanted a way to deter the cats, not kill them.”
When Alley Cat Allies inspected the complex they found cats living in two basic areas that can be easily contained. And they reported that far less than 50 cats live on the property.
The group began trapping cats immediately, capturing eight on the first day.
Photo Credit: K0GMB