Port Authority officials say a colony of feral cats have worn out their welcome at John F. Kennedy Airport, and have become a safety and health hazard.
Officials say food left for the cats attracts rodents and especially birds, which can cause problems for flights coming in and out of the airport.
But the authority is facing protests from animal-rights advocates, who say the threat the animals pose has been exaggerated and that many will be killed if they don't find homes.
"Port Authority is lying to the public that the cats are causing an aviation threat,” says Bryan Kortis of Neighborhood Cats. “The reason there are seagulls at the airport is because it is near the ocean and because there is trash all over the place. It's not because of an insignificant amount of cat food. "
"They want to trap them and send them to Animal Care and Control and they won't be adoptable like my dog was, because they are not social and they will be euthanized and we don't want to see them killed,” said protester Nancy Fahenstock.
The Port Authority says it will consider options for the cats after rounding them up, but that they can't stay at the airport.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
We must keep the pressure on in the form of phone calls, emails and faxes.
We have information that YOU ARE HAVING AN IMPACT inside Port Authority!
Those of us leading this effort are willing to stick it out for as long as it takes, whether that's days, weeks or months, but we can't do it without you. Please try to come to the demonstration on Nov. 15 and please read these tips carefully so we can counter Port Authority's attempts to close their eyes and shut their ears to the public:
When sending emails, do NOT write either "JFK" or "cats" in the subject heading. They are screening for those words and deleting or bouncing back those emails. Instead, keep it vague, like "Port Authority problem" or "suggested improvement" - make up your own unique phrase so they can't screen out anymore. When calling, if you get a live person, try to avoid mentioning the JFK cats to the first person you get on the line, but instead say you want to talk to someone about a problem you're having at the Port Authority's locations. Then talk to the 2nd person about JFK.
We're now targeting the Board of Commissioners at PA. When appointed, this Board was given the mandate of improving relations between PA and the NYC community. So they're not going to be pleased to hear about this one!
Keep the emails and faxes short and polite - preferably one, no more than two paragraphs. Let them know you condemn (1) the extermination plan, (2) the lies by Port Authority that the cats are an aviation threat and all the trapped cats will be adopted or otherwise rescued, and (3) the refusal of Port Authority to communicate with the public and their attempt to ignore the community's clear feelings on this matter. Demand an end to the killing and talks with local animal welfare experts at the Mayor's Alliance.
WHO TO CONTACT:
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 212-681-4580 (phone)
Email: go to www.ny.gov and click on "contact us" at the bottom of the page, or use this direct link: http://188.8.131.52/govemail
The Honorable John Corzine, Governor, New Jersey 609-292-6000
The Honorable David Patterson, Lieutenant Governor, New York
Port Authority Corporate Headquarters
WHAT TO SAY
1. Demand a stop to the extermination effort and good faith talks with the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals designed at implementing a pilot TNR project at JFK.
2. The Inspector General of the Port Authority told callers yesterday that PA is not killing the cats. That's like saying, "I didn't fire the gun, I only hired the hit man." PA will be responsible when the dead cats start piling up, not the shelter faced with no choice but to euthanize.
3. WHEN CALLING THE GOVERNORS OF NY & NJ: Demand the Governors reject Port Authority's new request for major toll increases on all its bridges, tunnels and subway lines. If Port Authority has money to burn on killing cats,