Mineola: Town needs to address village feral cats issue

Michelle Nunziata, a Mineola resident, found a sick cat among the many feral cats around the village she and other residents discussed at Wednesday's meeting. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Nunziata)

A handful of residents spoke at Wednesday’s Mineola Board of Trustees meeting about feral cat roaming village streets, but officials said they were barking up the wrong tree and should talk to the Town of North Hempstead instead.

The village does not have an animal control department, it’s one of the services Mineola residents rely on the Town of North Hempstead to manage, Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira said.

Robert Sckalor, a village resident who lives on Simonson Road and addressed the board regarding the feral cats in the fall. Since then, two new litters of cats have reproduced on his block alone, he said.

More cats have also appeared on Marcellus Road by the Mineola Memorial Library, Sckalor said.

“That is the section of Mineola with wonderful concerts, all these great things,” Sckalor said. “Who wants to see all these cats, who wants to walk into a concert and step on cat feces as they go see ‘Aladdin’ tomorrow night?”

Sckalor said he’s reached out to the town regarding their program, which catches, spays and re-releases cats.

He was told there is a 12-18 month waiting list for the program, he said.

Sckalor asked the village board if it would be possible for Mineola to create a program to “solve our own problems.”

There have been three of four new litters of kittens in the village, Nunziata said.
(Photo courtesy of Michelle Nunziata)

In many ways, the village is self-sufficient and does not rely on town services, Pereira said.

Unlike unincorporated areas, such as Carle Place, Roslyn Heights and Albertson, Mineola residents don’t use the town’s sanitation or building departments, Pereira said.

“The town provides you with very little, the one thing they do provide you with is this service, so you have every right to demand the one or two services that you pay taxes to them to provide you with … could be better,” Pereira said. “Maybe they don’t know because they’re too busy listening to North Shore communities where it’s not a problem.”

Pereira suggested residents call town officials and speak out at Town Board meetings.

“What you just said needs to be said at a town meeting … and you need to put them on the spot because at the end of the day the solution isn’t us,” Pereira said.

The next Town Board meeting will be held on Aug. 14 at Town Hall in Manhasset.

Town Councilman Angelo Ferrara, whose district includes the village, said he did not wish to comment but his office is aware of the problem and is working on it.

Mayor Scott Strauss said he would also put in a call to Ferrara and North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth.

Bosworth was not immediately available for comment on Friday morning.

Michelle Nunziata, a resident who lives on Marcellus road, said she’s seen three or four new litters of kittens this summer.

Nunziata said she’s found sick cats, one with crust and green pus surrounding its eye. She also found a dead can in her window well; her mother and her neighbor’s dog both got ringworm, she said.

There are young children on the block who can’t play outside because of the cat feces, she added.

Ricardo Gonales, a resident who lives on Marcellus Road, said there are about 18 cats that hang around his neighbor’s property. He suspects his neighbor is feeding them, he said.

The cats regularly make their way onto his property, leaving his car with scratches and his lawn laden with feces, he said.

Nunziata said she’s also aware of a resident who regularly leaves plates of food out for cats.

Nunziata found a dead cat in her window well, she said.
(Photo courtesy of Michelle Nunziata)

Not feeding cats is the main way residents can go about mending the problem, village officials said.

It also breaks with Nassau County code which states that no animal can be fed outside in a way that causes food to be available to rodents, Strauss said.

“If you feel your neighbor might be violating this code and feeding cats, please consider having a friendly chat about this,” Strauss said. “… They might not even realize they’re doing it and that it’s a problem.”

If the problem continues, residents can call the Nassau County Board of Health and they will follow up with the residents, Strauss said.

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Rebecca Klar

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