Stray cats bother Baysiders

Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece leads the group's first meeting back in Bayside after a summer hiatus. Photo by Phil Corso
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An influx of stray cats near one Bayside community prompted one neighbor to stand up at the Community Board 11 meeting Monday and call for help.

As part of the monthly meeting’s public participation section, Bayside middle school teacher Maria Finn said an unsightly problem posed a potential health hazard.

“I’m not a cat hater,” Finn said as she explained how neighbors who feed stray cats in the area may contribute to an ongoing buildup of feline fecal matter and flies around her property. “We cannot see our yards destroyed and our health compromised.”

Finn was not alone as neighbors stood up in agreement that homes near Bayside High School were among those affected. The teacher said she had been reaching out to elected officials in the area and has not yet achieved any tangible results.

CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said the board would continue looking into the matter to address the growing concern.

The community board held its first meeting since its summer hiatus Monday at MS 158 in Bayside and approved several variances during a public hearing for a local massage parlor, auto repair store and CVS in Douglaston. CB 11 covers Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston and part of Auburndale.

Of the variance approvals, the board permitted Massage Envy to operate a physical culture establishment, at 38-03 Bell Blvd., with specialized service for injured patients; Bayside’s Prela Auto Repair, at 42-42 Francis Lewis Blvd., to continue as an auto repair shop; and Douglaston’s CVS to continue operating as a commercial location in a residential zone.

In the public participation section of the meeting, retired Bayside businessman Jack Oshier took the floor to report on the possible relocation of the Bayside post office and raise awareness over what he said has become an out-of-control sanitation issue along Bell Boulevard.

“The post office is not going anywhere this year,” Oshier told the crowd, attributing his assertions to others involved in the discussion of a possible closure of the Bell Boulevard center. “They may look into finding a sub-station on Bell Boulevard, but they will probably stay at least through the winter.”

Oshier also said he and neighbors have noticed an ongoing stench along Bell Boulevard, often due to a grease buildup outside area restaurants.

“If business is that busy, get a power washer,” Oshier said.

In his monthly address, 111th Precinct Commanding Officer Jason Huerta said overall crime was down by more than 20 percent as of Sept. 9. Of the seven major crime categories, Huerta said the only one to see a jump in numbers was burglary, which increased from 13 to 22 incidents when compared to the same 28-day period last year. One of the more common forms of theft, he said, occurred in window entries in the area.

Other community discussions at the meeting revolved around updates from the summer, including an ongoing push to address growing flight noise coming out of LaGuardia Airport in northeast Queens. To galvanize community efforts to combat the flight noise, CB 11 said some residents organized a meeting scheduled for Sept. 19 in the Terrace Diner in Bay Terrace at 7:30 p.m. to coordinate a resistance effort.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 12:59 am, September 14, 2012
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Reader feedback

Martha from Bayside says:
This article was poorly reported. What was Maria Finn and the other neighbors asking for? What was her or the other people's ideas of what needs to be done about these cats? I have no idea of what they wanted to be done about the "stray cats". Kill them? Who was supposed to take care of "the problem". The problem, you see, is owned by ALL OF US. We humans! We caused the problem and now we must step up to the plate and help these creatures, not just complain about them.

We, the community, share a joint responsibility for the reality of stray cats roaming the outdoors. I admit that for some years I allowed my (neutered) cats to go outside for an hour or two, but no more! Yes, cats will defecate on someone's lawn (my next door neighbor's cat uses my lawn daily as a toilet). But that is not my main concern. I can live with that. My main concern is for the safety and well being of the cats. First, all cat owners need to keep their cats indoors because there are myriad threats to their health: Feline leukemia, feline immunosuppressive virus (FIV), pesticides on grass and plants, injuries off all kinds, especially from fights with non-neutered cats (cats who are neutered are far less likely to fight), poor protection from injury and being trapped in all kinds of places, being hit by cars and more. Feral, that is, non-tame cats, and I suspect that the complains are about these cats, face these same threats as well as inadequate shelter, food and veterinary care if they become sick or injured. I cannot address those humans who don't care about the welfare of stray cats. "Stray cats" are not wild animals like raccoons or possums. A feral cat has a far shorter lifespan than does a domesticated cat. They are genetically programmed to co-exist with humans as domesticated animals and they exist as ferals, or "strays" because we humans do not spay or neuter our cats and then we let them go outdoors and breed more and more cats. Yes, the ferals breed, also, but that leads to my next comment: Please support the concept of humane trap neuter and return to the same territory (cats cannot be picked up and moved to a new territory - this is cruel because they cannot easily adapt to a new area due to the territoriality of other cats in that area who will fight them). Please educate yourselves, as I did, by doing some reading and learning about the world of animal rescue, TNR and protection of feral cats. I did this all by myself, so you can , too. No excuses, please! It is the mission of trap neuter and return (TNR) to prevent the birth of kittens by spaying and neutering feral and stray (abandoned) cats. Here are some vitally important websites: Read them! Learn. Remember, if a feral cat is trapped and brought to the city shelter, it will be killed by the shelter within days. This is horrible and not fair nor is it at all necessary. They deserve to be cared for outside by human caretakers and can live long, healthy lives with no more kittens born outside (because, remember, you had them neutered and spayed!). You can provide feral cat shelters and outside litter boxes for cats. There is much you can do to help them, not just complain about them. Have a heart. If you don't, well, I am not going to suddenly grow you one. It has to come from within:

Finally, get certified as a TNR feral cat rescuer and help these cats! The classes are free and only 3 hours long and you will meet, as my husband and I did, the most fantastic people in the world who care about these outside cats and preventing more births of kittens.

If you do nothing, you have no right to complain. Remember that. We ALL bear responsibility for this problem.
Sept. 14, 2012, 8:25 pm
Lou from Bayside says:
Look very closely at the picture and you will see a stray cat!
Sept. 15, 2012, 8:29 am
Gail from Bayside says:
What is wrong with feeding stray cats? There is a lady in my neighborhood that has been feeding the same stay cat for a few years. She would take the cat in but she has many of her own. The cat is friendly and doesn't bother anyone. When you feed a stray cat or dog, at least you are doing something nice. So God bless everyone who has a heart and is a animal lover.
Sept. 16, 2012, 2:56 pm
Martha from Bayside says:
I agree with Gail, and I think it is great if someone cares enough to feed stray cats, but this is not enough: If we want to prevent unwanted births we need to learn how to get cats professionally trapped by TNR certified folks (like me) and have them neutered and spayed, and have them get some preventative shots for rabies, feline leukemia, etc.

It is not kind for us to feed but not bother to neuter/spay these ferals and strays.

Contact the NYC Feral Cat Initiative for help: NYC

Also, you can get professionally made outdoor feral cat shelters for as little as $15. There IS help available. You only need to ask.
Sept. 16, 2012, 5:08 pm
Martha from Bayside says:
I wish to add that I am betting that the kind lady who cares for the friendly, outside cat has made sure he/she is neutered or spayed. I only meant that for others, it is wonderful to feed them, but we must neuter and spay them, too, and provide them some kind of shelter from the elements, especially the wet and cold in the winter. Homeless cats can suffer and become ill more from a lack of shelter than from a lack of food.
Sept. 16, 2012, 8:30 pm
Jeannie from Bayside says:
I like Martha, have TNR's ferrils and stopped the population growth on my block that started 2 years ago with kittens being born in a neighbors yard.

Don't complain, Help your neighborhood and Help yourself. Treat your yards with preventive safe methods of cat repellant plants (non-poisenious) or their are other things you can put on your lawns too. One site you can go to is "Have a Hart", and you can purchase some preventive safe cat repellants.

You can always try to call some listed rescue organizations as well to assist you in trapping and fixing unfixed ferrils that are passing through your yards. It will take your participation and effort as no-one is going to do all the work for you. It takes a village, but it's better to work together then to wait until problems get out of control, isn't that when people start to pay attention and complain. Prevention of seeing and acting on a problem before it gets out of hand will save you much grief.

The solution of removing ferrils only replaces them with new ferrils. Do you want to see fixed ferrils removed and unfixed ferrils take their place for a bigger over population. Be part of the solution and have some compassion. A few people on a block with a ferril problem who can get together can make a big difference. Make phone calls to organizations and find out which TNR program will work best...and work together and your block will be under control in no time. Then you have a maintenance stratedgy for any new unfixed cats that come around.

Get organized and Help the ferrils, they are just trying to survive like any other living animal against the odds, bu they are part of our community.
Sept. 21, 2012, 4:58 pm
jack from bayside says:
has anyone noticed how much of a boon lou is?
Sept. 22, 2012, 6:46 pm
jack from bayside says:
Sept. 22, 2012, 6:46 pm
Hal from Bayside says:
Lou's son is the guy who jumped into the tiger enclosure at the Bronx zoo.
Sept. 23, 2012, 8:40 pm
Jill from Bayside says:
Why can't we all just get along ya'll. And feed the cats
welfare cheese.
Sept. 27, 2012, 11:50 am
vera from bayside says:
i took one cat . fix her and we love her to death. This year there was another cat that was coming to my door ever day we stared to feed her and that were the problem start , i took her to a pet mobile. we did abortion. fixed her and now we have 2 cats. i did not want a little kittens running around my backyard. from one cat you can have a many more.
Oct. 1, 2012, 8:11 pm
GAIL from Bayside says:
I think that's horrible that you had the cat go through an abortion. Why didn't you let the cat just have her babies and then you could of asked friends or family if they would like to take one. Where was the father cat???
Dec. 4, 2012, 9:28 pm

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