An Open Letter from ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Commission:

November 7, 2007

As an organization that lobbies for the health and well-being of the nation’s animals, the ASPCA is aggrieved to realize the unwillingness of local officials to support a humane community in our own backyard. Last month, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey commissioned a trapper to evict the feral cat communities located around J.F.K. airport; this decision was made against the advice of the ASPCA. As the entrapment of the cats continues we are forced to denounce the Commission’s solution to decrease their stray cat population, both for its insensitivity and inadequacy

Earlier this year, the ASPCA offered the Port Authority the use of our Mobile Spay/Neuter truck, which helped spay and neuter more than 12,000 companion animals as well as feral cats last year, to accommodate the many cat colonies at the airport. The Port Authority declined the offer.

The ASPCA supports the management of feral cat colonies through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), whereby all the cats in a colony are trapped, sterilized, and returned to their colony, ideally to be managed by a caretaker who monitors the animals’ health and remains vigilant that any newcomers are immediately sterilized. This stabilizes the population of the colony and, over time, reduces it. Otherwise, as long as there is food and shelter, new cats take the place of those who are removed.

Historically, most attempts to eradicate feral cat colonies around the country have failed, largely because alternatives are unsuccessful. The ASPCA believes TNR is the most humane and effective way of controlling feral cat colonies and, at the same time, eliminating the objectionable spraying, vocalizing and fighting behaviors of the colony.

Now, without alternative recourse or measure, the public has elected to hold a demonstration to provide these animals with a voice. New York has come a long way since the days when animals were subjected to death due to ignorance and the ASPCA hopes to continue the progress we’ve made.

As a founding member of the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals, the ASPCA again requests the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to do what’s right by our city and its homeless pets and consider a humane solution to this issue.


Ed Sayres
President & CEO