Clement St. Cats Hitting a Nerve With Neighbors

Residents complain of smell, feces as city looks for a feasible answer.

Residents on Clement St. are growing increasingly frustrated with a population of cats living on vacant property at the end of the street, and the city is having trouble finding a solution.

"The smell is bad in the summer. People don't barbecue outside," said Ornella Gallizzi. She lives in one of the homes across from 83 Clement St., an empty house at the end of the dead end where she estimated at least 10 cats live.

They don't live in the house, just on the property - free to roam into neighbors' yards and to use any convenient spot as a litter box, as one of Gallizzi's neighbors recently complained at a town hall meeting at Landing Elementary School.

The empty house belongs to a woman who used to own a number of cats before she moved to a nursing care facility, according to deputy mayor Maureen Basdavanos. The felines are now the only ones who call the place home, using a variety of shelters, some made of straw and wrapped in plastic, built for them in the backyard. 

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There are a few people who feed the cats regularly, among them a woman who is a friend of the home's owner. Basdavanos said they met after the woman became concerned for the animals' welfare should the property be sold. 

"We tried to work out an agreement that she would try and socialize some of them at a time and bring them to the shelter as adoptable, but nothing ever came of it," said Basdavanos.

The Glen Cove Animal Shelter got involved, trapping, spaying or neutering what cats they could catch, ear-tagging them and releasing them to the same spot. The shelter is at capacity for cats and can only take one or two at a time, Basdavanos said.

Shelters in other municipalities won't receive them because they're from another locale, she explained. That leaves the city with few options as far as removal.

Basdavanos, a self-proclaimed cat-lover, said the issue has been ongoing for several years.

Gallizzi expressed no disdain for the animals, and with winter approaching she said she is concerned for their well-being.

"I feel sorry to see the cats like this," she said.

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Eileen Coles October 23, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Raccoons are the bigger problem, they view cats as competition for food and will attack and kill a cat. I am taking care of two semi-ferals that were abandoned 2 years ago by someone who moved out across the street. The male had his back toes bitten off by a raccoon and the female has had her back leg broken, her front leg broken and been wounded by raccoons. I can't take them in because my husband is allergic. As a matter of policy cats should be TNR'd and raccoons should be relocated to parks or less settled parts of the city so they don't threaten people's pets. Also I agree, don't just whine, do something about it even if all you have time for is to kick the Animal Shelter some money. I hope they can adopt out those poor kitties. As for the Glen Cove "varmints", I can deal with possum, squirrels, garter snakes and foxes but if I have to deal with one more raccoon bite on my little girl's leg I am going to be seriously thinking about sporting a Davy Crockett hat for the winter. The raccoons are out of control. Something's gotta get done about that.
Frances of Asissi October 23, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Most of the remaining cats are not adoptable and should be left alone.The numbers will decrease through natural attrition hopefully before the property is sold.They are given medical treatment when needed and all have been innoculated when they were fixed.
Dennis Spano October 23, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Frances I feel the same way about them. The only problem is if the house is sold
Dennis Spano October 23, 2012 at 08:10 PM
There ar people who come and feed them every morning. And there is shelter built for them in the back and side of the house.
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