Jersey Shore town's controversial plan to control boardwalk cats

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A Jersey Shore town is upsetting some people with their new plan to control the number of feral cats on the boardwalk. (WPVI)

A Jersey Shore town is upsetting some people with their new plan to control the number of feral cats on the boardwalk.

Seaside Heights is just 16 blocks long and five blocks wide. But the borough administrator, Chris Vaz, estimates a feral cat population between 500 and 600.

Vaz explains, "They roam off the properties where they are being fed onto other people's properties, and they're defecating, urinating."

Chris Vaz says some homeowners have been complaining and others have raised health concerns about the colonies of feral cats who live under the boardwalk.

The borough has broken ties with a local animal welfare group that would trap, neuter and release the feral cats, and is now considering an ordinance that would put the local animal control officer in charge of moving those cats to a shelter or sanctuary.

The ordinance would also require anyone who wants to care for feral cats to get permission from their neighbors.

Lisa Franciosi is the head of the Seaside Heights Animal Welfare Organization, and she objects.

"You can't put a feral cat in a rescue. They're usually not socialized and they can't be adopted, so those cats are going to go to a shelter and after a seven day hold they're euthanized," Franciosi said.

Debbie Leonardis manages a colony of feral cats at her home that is now down to two. She thinks the proposed regulations are too restrictive.

Leonardis says, "It's a problem trying to even find out who I have to get permission from and whether they would give me permission and if they wouldn't then what would happen to my poor cats?"

There's a public hearing on this ordinance scheduled for July 20th, which will likely attract a lot of attention.
Related Topics:
petsanimal newscatsn.j. newsSeaside Heights
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