Community strays being pushed out of Coney Island school lot

A petition was started to save the cats to let them continue to live in the only place they've known.

Mary-Lyn Buckley

Sep 6, 2023, 2:24 AM

Updated 285 days ago

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Coney Island residents rallied today outside of Intermediate School 303 after dozens of people claimed community stray cats and ferals are being neglected on school grounds. 
For about a decade, community members took on the responsibility of feeding about five community strays and ferals inside of the school's staff parking lot, and created handmade shelters that were on school property. Three weeks ago, the cat shelters were unexpectedly thrown out by Department of Education staff, according to community cat advocate Suzanne Hernandez.
On Tuesday morning, a meeting was held with NYC Schools Superintendent Erin Lynch, community members, ASPCA, NYPD officers, and the Mayor's Office of Animal Welfare regarding what could be done to protect the wellbeing of the community cats that have frequented the school's premises for a decade.
"She told us to move them somewhere else but, you can't remove community cats. There is no way to remove them," said community cat advocate Suzanne Hernandez, referencing her conversation with Lynch at today's rally.
A new space to house community cats was proposed by the Department of Education.  The space has gotten tremendous pushback from community cat advocates, who fear it is unsafe as it borders the Eastbound Belt Parkway, and dirty.
According to Lynch, both the ASPCA and a representative from the Mayor's Office of Animal Welfare agreed upon this space as well. Lynch writing in an email to Hernandez saying "The space is a safe space. There will not be a reconsideration. This is the space being offered."
A petition was started to save the cats to let them continue to live in the only place they've known. As of Tuesday night, the petition had received over 3,000 signatures.


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