MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Some volunteers at the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter say the shelter shouldn’t give up taking in cats, which it was forced to do for sanitation reasons four months ago.
Lynne Smith, who has been volunteering at the shelter for two years, said that over the past four months, cats have been being moved out of the shelter. Smith said there were about 70 cats four months ago, but as of Wednesday, only 12 cats remained at the shelter.
“They had to turn away a pregnant cat, so now there are feral kittens,” Smith said. “People who drop off their cats at a shelter are desperate. If the shelter says no, where are the animals supposed to go?”
Lt. Brian Kennedy of the Mount Vernon Police Department, which runs the shelter, said the city is not taking in cats at the moment but should be accepting them by the end of the month, when the shelter is finished being cleaned to help prevent the spread of various feline diseases.
Kennedy said the facility had no space to hold all the cats, and it wouldn’t be uncommon to see cats roaming around the shelter offices and vestibule.
“Moving forward, we are going to isolate the cats that have been in the shelter a long time while we sanitize the vacant areas,” Kennedy said. “We can ensure that there is no disease going out of the shelter. We’re going forward in the right direction, and we thank the volunteers for their help.”
Still, volunteer Isobel Doyle said she is “dismayed” that the shelter is not taking in cats at the moment, adding that more and more cats are being dumped onto the streets of Mount Vernon. Doyle said that more free-roaming cats leads to more dead animal bodies decaying, which becomes a health hazard.
“Diseases will be spread because of this,” Doyle said. “Something needs to be done to get the cats taken care of.”
Resident Lillian Collins said she has seen cats get hit by cars because they were dumped onto the street.
“A lot of people who move had to put their cats out on the streets,” Collins said. “A lot of these cats just don’t know how to get out of the way. I’ve told people to move them to the animal shelter, but it’s not accepting them at the moment.”
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