The Real Deal New York

Cat colony sparks conflict at LES apartment complex

Residents fought the building board, after their "registered" cat sanctuary was shuttered
July 05, 2014 12:00PM

 Residents are getting catty at a Lower East Side apartment complex after a long established feline sanctuary — operating out of the Amalgamated Dwellings basement at 504 Grand Street – was abruptly shut down. 

The “Broome St. Alley,” one of the oldest and most successfully managed trap-neuter-and-release cat colonies in New York City, was shut down after management closed the cats’ basement entrance.

The basement was blocked off due to a potentially serious rat infestation, according to the Villager, leaving the elderly cats with nowhere to go. The issue has now sparked a disagreement between a few residents and the development’s board of trustees.

One member of the Amalgamated Dwellings board of trustees, who remained anonymous, explained that after a dead cat and several dead rats were discovered in the vents, a wildlife expert was brought in and found that there was a rat infestation. But because animal laws forbid the extermination of rats when cats are present the board gave residents the “opportunity to relocate the cats.”

But soon afterwards, a petition, “on behalf of Amalgamated Cats,” was started by several local residents and received 22 signatures.

Brooke Myers, a resident who has cared for the cats for years, said that “people got screamed at and threatened” for signing the petition. Ellen Renstrom, who has been tending to the animals for a decade, added that: “They could have at least left the shelters.”

“There probably won’t be cats in the building ever again, and a lot of people are very sad about that,” said Myers. [Villager] Christopher Cameron