Mystery of missing cats draws attention to animal shelter's overcrowding

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:45

Warwick - Recently up to 15 outdoor cats have mysteriously disappeared from Church Street resident where an elderly lady had fed them for years. The 15 animals included several kittens. “Were these cats rounded up and poisoned or trapped and dumped somewhere else?” questions Suzyn Barron, president of the Warwick Valley Humane Society. “Is this a case of animal cruelty? And if someone knows what happened will they come forward and report it on our confidential animal cruelty report line at 987-7336?” The Humane Society is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for their disappearance. The Village Cat Control Law prohibits outdoor feeding of cats unless it is a designated approved colony. Barron explained that the Humane Society will help with information about trapping, spaying, neutering and releasing strays. She added that it is inhumane to trap cats and abandon them in an unfamiliar area where they have no food, water or housing source. “Cats that are left atop a mountain or dumped at a farm starve and die or are attacked and killed by other animals,” said Barron. Surrender list “The Warwick Animal Shelter is currently packed beyond capacity,” said Barron. “Although we are a limited access facility, we will not destroy healthy, adaptable animals to make room for more unwanted pets. Finding homes is our priority. But if you feed 'em, fix 'em.” The shelter utilizes a surrender list so as space becomes available, it can take the next pet in. Overpopulation of dogs and cats has long been an issue for the Warwick community and the Humane Society. The Town of Warwick, for example, subsidizes the Spay, Neuter, Return (SNR) program managed by the Warwick Valley Humane Society for cats. SNR is a refund program whereby a resident who shows recent proof of the spay or neuter of a cat can receive a $50 refund towards its cost by presenting the spay/neuter certificate to the Society. There are no restrictions on where the spay/neuter takes place and the Animal Right Alliance (T.A.R.A.) low cost Spay Neuter Mobile Clinic is available throughout the County. Barron added that the Warwick Valley Humane Society’s Shelter, just off Kings Highway, has a great selection of pets for adoption and many are waiting for new homes because they were obtained by people with unrealistic expectations of the time, effort, and money required to sustain a lifelong relationship with their pet. Shelter personnel collect a history of each pet and assess its health and temperament in order to make the best adoption matches possible. 'Adopt a Homeless Cat’ in June Fees are usually much less than the purchase price of an animal from a pet store or breeder and all pets are vaccinated, de-wormed, and spayed or neutered. “When you consider the value of all these medical services,” said Barron, “someone offering free kittens outside a supermarket, is not saving you money and more important, those kittens are not spayed. And that’s at the root of this problem.” June is “Adopt a Homeless Cat,” month and the Shelter has reduced adoption fees in its attempt at finding good homes.

Essential information
For additional information call the Warwick Valley Humane Society Animal Shelter at 986-2473 or visit