MIDDLETOWN, PENNSYLVANIA — As sure as the sound of the bird at Core Creek Park, those who regularly visit say that you could expect to see colonies of hundreds of feral cats.
“There’s no reason for it. It’s not a shelter,” stated Charles Kissinger. He also added that he’s been coming to the park for 20 years and warned management early on about the growing problem of cat dumping.
“I went in about two and a half years ago to tell them to get it it under control or it was going to get out of control,” Kissinger went on to say.
What ended up developing was a pungent smell and areas littered with more than 250 shoddy shelters built by passersby.
“Everything from toolboxes to trash cans to insulated Rubbermaid bins. Most of them were very dirty. A lot of them were broken,” said Denise Bash from Animal Lifeline. It truly was time for intervention Bash said.
Animal Lifeline is one of several organizations that is pitching in. Others groups involved include the Pennsylvania SPCA, Cat Tales, Rescue Purrfect, The Bridge Clinic, Red Rover and Alley Cat Allies. The efforts have cost about $30,000, much of which was offset by donations.
“Everybody had enough,” Bash went on to say. “It wasn’t fair what was happening to the animals here, either the wildlife or the cats. Something needed to be done.”
Over the past two weeks, volunteers installed dozens of insulated shelters which were built by prison inmates and pulled nearly 500 cats living in the park. “Everybody is spayed, neutered, vaccinated. They even got flea and tick. Everybody also has a micro-chip,” Bash stated.
So far, many of the rescued cats have been adopted, but about 160 cats which have been deemed non-adoptable, were released back into the park.
“Most of these feral cats will die off within 5-10 years,” Bash continued. “That’s our goal, to get it down to zero cats. It’s home to wildlife. It’s not supposed to be home to feral cats.”
Not everyone agrees with all of this as the best solution. “It is the tax payers dollar paying for this. I don’t want to see it looking like a cat ghetto,” Kissinger mentioned.
Organizations continue to monitor the cats much more closely. The cats that have been returned to the park are now under a strict four-hour feeding program and the park has also put up security cameras to catch anyone who may be dumping their pets.
Anyone who is interested in adopting kittens or cats should contact Rescue Purrfect at 267-221-7109 or email [email protected] You may also contact Cat Tales at 215-933-6900.