Bayside prison chief in hot seat over do-not-feed-cats order
By THOMAS BARLAS Staff Writer | Posted: Saturday, November 1, 2014 9:21 pm
MAURICE RIVER TOWNSHIP — An animal-care group again is accusing Bayside State Prison of mistreating stray and wild cats on its grounds.
This time, the Animal Alliance of Cape May County said a recent do-not-feed-the-cats order issued to prison staff is leaving many of the cats in “starvation mode.”
Prison Administrator John Powell is ignoring advice on how to handle the cat-feeding, Alliance President Lew Vinci said. That includes establishing a designated area where the cats can be fed only cat food, not leftovers from the meals prepared for prison staff or inmates, he said.
But the suggestions run into another problem: The state Department of Corrections considers cat food to be contraband in prisons. The department contends the cat food containers could be used to smuggle items ranging from drugs to potential weapons to inmates.
Vinci acknowledges the problem but said it can be overcome by having the cat food go through formal prison screening procedures. The food could be limited to donated cat food that corrections officers bring into the prison, he said.
Vinci said he has contacted state legislators and corrections department staff about the problem. He filed a complaint Oct. 17 with the state Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, charging Powell with animal neglect, he said.
Corrections Department spokeswoman Deidre Fedkenheuer said she could not comment on the cat issue because of the pending complaint.
Stray and wild cats have been a problem at Bayside for several years. Bayside sits on more than 1,100 acres in the Leesburg section. The area is primarily wooded and rural, which animal care officials say provides the cats with something of a home.
Alliance officials said there is no accurate count of cats on the Bayside grounds, but they estimate more than 100 live there. The state paid more than $1,000 in March to have many cats of the cats sterilized.
Vinci said the cats generally are fed by inmates and prison staff, a practice that keeps cats from leaving the area and attracts other cats.
On Oct. 9, Powell issued a directive to prison staff that reads “staff are reminded that they are not to bring any food in to feed the cats, nor are staff to put out any type of containers for the cats.” Vinci provided The Press of Atlantic City with a copy of the directive.
A spay-and-neuter program has operated sporadically at the prison since 2005 to help control a growing stray and wild cat population, according to the alliance. The program resulted in the sterilization of more than 300 cats at a cost of at least $10,000, it said.
Vinci said he is not sure how successful the March spay-and-neuter was, primarily because the prison did not round up all the cats.
“If you don’t get every cat, by spring the prison will be back in the same boat,” he said. “It doesn’t take long for cats to reproduce.”
You can find the original Press of Atlantic City article here: Bayside Prison Chief in Hot Seat Over Do-Not-Feed-Cats Order
Animal Alliance of Cape May County Endorses Barn Buddy Program
Barn Buddy cats have their left ear “tipped” for easy identification. ALL cats are spayed/neutered, test negative for FIV/Felv, are treated for parasites and given rabies and distemper vaccinations.
Cape May - Animal Alliance of Cape May County is pleased to announce their support of the “Barn Buddy” program. The aim of the program is to locate people who have a little bit of room in their barn or on their property and a lot of compassion in their heart.
With cooler fall weather upon us, are pesky rodents showing up in your greenhouses, warehouses, commercial garages or barns? Want a form of non-toxic pest control? Adopt a couple of our Barn Buddies and your problems will be a thing of the past
Cats in the Barn Buddy program are spayed or neutered, receive rabies and distemper vaccines, Feline Leukemia and FIV tested and ear-tipped for easy identification. (Eartipping is a painless procedure in which a small notch is cut into the ear). The AACMC will absorb all fees associated with the cats in exchange for an agreement to continue long term care, feeding and shelter for the cat.
Through shelter application process, all cats chosen for the program will be moderately socialized to people yet would not be happy living inside a house. Up to this point they have been living outside. They will keep watch over your barn, your warehouse, your business, where ever they’re needed and they work for room and board.”
Animal Alliance CMC (AACMC) supports the Cape May County Animal Shelter’s efforts to reduce the number of cats euthanized at the Shelter. “If the cats are healthy and have been altered, it is certainly a more humane goal to try to find them homes in a setting such as this.
Most of the cats at the Shelter arrive through Animal Control. While some of these cats are friendly and can easily make a transition to becoming house pets, others are less socialized. These are the cats we’re trying to save. Although they may not want to sit on your lap, they deserve to live out their lives, and can make excellent mousers.”
If you can not adopt a Barn Buddy, but you still would like to help this campaign, you can sponsor one by making a donation to cover the cost of surgery and vaccinations. For more information or if you are interested in adopting or sponsoring a Barn Buddy cat, contact the Shelter at 465-8923, or the Animal Alliance of Cape May County at 465-NEUT.
The Cape May County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center Shelter is located at 110 Shelter Road, Cape May Court House, Exit 11 of the Garden State Parkway. The Shelter is open daily, except legal holidays.