NEW YORK, New York – Aug. 8, 2018 – Alley Cat Allies has offered its reaction to the settlement and order of dismissal in the case of American Bird Conservancy v. Harvey. In this federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York, the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) attempted to make the case that New York was in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) simply because sterilized feral cats are living in Jones Beach State Park, a park in which piping plover birds—designated as threatened under the ESA—also live.
“This settlement brings to an end this frivolous lawsuit in which ABC ultimately failed to achieve its goal,” said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “From the start of litigation and at every step of the way since, New York has asserted that the ESA was not violated by sterilized cats living in Jones Beach State Park. It reiterates this in the settlement agreement: ‘Defendant [New York] expressly denies any wrongful conduct or liability, or violation of the ESA or any other law, in connection with the events alleged in the Action.’”
As part of the settlement, New York has agreed to have the cats removed “in as humane a manner as possible” from the park.
“While we understand New York’s desire to end this expensive, time-consuming lawsuit, removing cats from the park is a regrettable decision,” Robinson added. “The truth is that the population of piping plover in the park has grown markedly over the past 15 years. There is no proof whatsoever that removing cats from Jones Beach State Park will help piping plovers in their recovery.”
“Relocating outdoor cats is not the easy fix some may expect. These cats are bonded to their outdoor home and moving will be highly traumatic for them,” Robinson said. “What’s more, cat populations at Jones Beach, which have been stabilized over the past decade through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), are now bound to increase again as new cats are abandoned at the park and reproduce. Rather than fewer cats in the park, this settlement agreement will almost certainly result in more cats in the park. We are keeping in communication with New York and will be happy to work with the State to put in place an effective cat population management program.”
Trap-Neuter-Return, which was successfully being practiced by caregivers in Jones Beach, was and is the only humane and effective option for the outdoor cats at Jones Beach. Through TNR, cats are humanely trapped, spayed and neutered, and vaccinated. The tip of one ear is painlessly removed to indicate the cats have been through a TNR program. They are then returned right back where they were living– their outdoor home.
TNR is good public policy. It stops the cycle of kitten litters born every year, reduces shelter intake, reduces the killing of cats in shelters, reduces calls to municipal animal control, and has the added benefit of saving taxpayers’ money. The public overwhelmingly supports this non-lethal approach.
Alley Cat Allies has been involved extensively in this case for the last two years and filed an amicus brief to the court. The organization will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the humane treatment of cats.
(Note to editors: A copy of the settlement agreement is available upon request.)
About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is the global engine of change for cats. We protect and improve cats’ lives through our innovative, cutting-edge programs. We are seen around the world as a champion for the humane treatment of all cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more than a half-million supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens worldwide. Its website is www.alleycat.org, and Alley Cat Allies is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.