Tell St. James Church: Stop Starving Feral Cats!
It’s been almost two weeks since the eight feral cats that call Manhattan’s historic St. James Church home, have been fed. That’s because two priests have locked out an animal rescue group that has tended the colony for years in an effort to starve the cats off of church property. The priests, Father Lino Gonsalves and Father Walter Tonelotto have refused to meet with the rescue group, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals to discuss plans for cat care.
Until now, the feral colony at St. James was a model Trap / Neuter / Release (TNR) project, but according to rescuers, in recent weeks one groundskeeper at the church hinted that the cats would be poisoned and rescuers were threatened with arrest for trespassing.
All of the cats are vaccinated for rabies and are spayed or neutered, which controls the population.
If you would like to remind the priests of the example set by St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Benedict XVI, and urge them to soften their stance, sign the petition below to email officials at St. James Church, The Archdiocese of New York and the Vatican.
UPDATE – March, 27, 2012
Your voices were heard and a tentative agreement has been reached!
The New York City Feral Cat Initiative and the Archdiocese of New York have agreed to restore daily care and feeding to eight feral cats living at the historic St. James Church in lower Manhattan as part of a spayed and neutered colony.
In a statement, NYCFCI said “The church is setting a fine example of leadership by example with this compassionate and humane consideration for these cats abandoned to the street through no fault of their own. Though not completely resolved, we are confident this will be a win-win for the cats and St. James Church.”
As part of a trial period, both parties agreed that a suitable feeding station and shelters for the cats would be placed on church property along with a litter box. There will be an onsite meeting with the church pastor and caretakers this week to work out a routine, and the plan will be reevaluated in sixty days.