A cat fight over regulations about feeding, spaying and neutering in Great Neck Estates ended not long after it began, advocates said, following a Monday night board meeting and a Tuesday afternoon talk.
Helen Katchis, a member of the Great Neck-based nonprofit Humane Urban Group, said she has fed, spayed and neutered feral cats in the area for more than 20 years to help individual cats and control their population.
“You don’t let an animal starve. That’s crazy,” Katchis said after the Monday night meeting. “When you spay and neuter, you always feed afterwards.”
But it only became a problem within the last few weeks after someone reported her activities, claiming she was “ruining the ecosystem,” Katchis added.
Great Neck Estates Mayor William Warner said on Monday the village has barred the feeding of animals by anyone and that “we try not to ignore our laws.”
Great Neck Estates village code has prohibited people from giving an animal food or water, be they stray, wild or domestic, since 1999. Anyone who does can be subject to a $25 fine for the first violation, $50 for the second, and $75 per violation thereafter.
Warner also said he received a letter from a Laurel Drive resident co-signed by 10 other residents concerned about feral cats, which are being fed, coming onto their property.
But, Warner had said, he wanted to set up a meeting with Katchis, code enforcement officer Michael Bogart and himself for Tuesday to discuss what is being done, why and where to go from there.
“I need as much information as possible,” Warner said on Monday, noting the issue only “came across literally within the last week.”
Members of the Humane Urban Group also submitted several pages of material on the importance of feeding, spaying and neutering cats and why it should be allowed.
“We made an agreement that I would go down there, feed [the cats], but I would have to remove the food before I left,” Katchis said, describing the talks as “very cordial” and “very to the point.”
Another point made was that cats aren’t considered wild animals, Katchis said.
Katchis also said that Jack Hausman, a co-president of the Humane Urban Group, attended the Tuesday meeting.
“He told them how much trapping we’re doing in Great Neck Estates. He said you would be surprised on what’s going on over here,” Katchis said.
“So everything is OK and Oct. 8 is no longer an issue,” Katchis later added, referring to a public hearing date set previously at the Monday meeting to address the feral cat issue.
Warner was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.