The City of Bayonne is aiming to have a new cat care facility, specifically to help house the cats that are part of a feral cat colony behind the old A&P site near 7th Street and Newark Bay, officials announced.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Under a developing concept, the cats would be housed in a new facility that will be built near the 5th Street connector road, according to city spokesman Joe Ryan.
“An estimated forty cats live by Newark Bay behind the former A & P. The presence of the cats there has created a variety of health problems,” Mayor Jimmy Davis said in a statement.
“By working with several agencies, volunteers, and local businesses, we have come up with a workable solution.”
In the cat colony’s current waterfront location by Newark Bay, a variety of problems have developed in recent years.
These issues include the accumulation of garbage, the presence of other wildlife, maintenance in the area, and the health and welfare of the cats.
Davis added that it’s time to move “in a new direction,” hoping to discourage people from getting rid of cats behind the old A&P site.
At a meeting at City Hall on June 14, Business Administrator Joe DeMarco brought together various city officials, representatives of businesses, the Boy Scouts, and friends of animals.
DeMarco advised the group that the City of Bayonne is going to follow a model developed in Secaucus for animal facilities.
According to Vincent Rivelli, Health Officer for Bayonne and Secaucus, volunteers maintain and clean the facility established for a cat colony in Secaucus. Bayonne officials believe that the same system would be adopted in Bayonne.
The Secaucus Animal Shelter, located at 525 Meadowlands Parkway, is funded by the town and the 501(c)(3) Friends of the Secaucus Animal Shelter and has a staff of about 10 unpaid volunteers.
Ryan told Hudson County View that like Secaucus, the Bayonne facility will be operated by unpaid volunteers. He did not specifically answer an inquiry on if there is an estimated operational budget yet or how funds for day-to-day operations would be raised.
Meanwhile, the new Bayonne cat facility will be designed by Consulting and Municipal Engineers (CME), the firm that serves as the City of Bayonne’s City Engineer.
Ken Poesl, the owner of Ken’s Marine, a local clean-up firm, has offered to supply heavy equipment and laborers for help with construction, while Vincent Alessi of the Alessi Organization – a local real estate developer – has offered to donate gravel.
Furthermore, local Boy Scout Leader John Hughes promised to involve Boy Scouts in the construction of the dwelling units for the cats. Also, city officials will be seeking the donation of a supply shed and materials for kitty houses from local stores.
One of the city’s goals is to provide the cats with a facility that will be on platforms above snow and potential future floods.
Additionally, officials say most of the cats in the colony behind the former A & P have been spayed or neutered. Public health officials will be speaking to local veterinarians to seek their assistance in spaying or neutering cats that are still capable of reproducing.
Before construction can begin, City officials and CME engineers will need to survey a potential cat colony site, plan connections to water and electricity and develop a security system for the animal facility.
The cat colony’s new home is expected to have a size of 4,000 square feet and officials hope to complete the new cat facility by the end of the year.
Back in December, the Bayonne City Council faced some scrutiny from residents who were upset to see the city terminate the animal control contract of Jersey City’s Liberty Humane Society.
Despite the criticism, the council opted to go with New Jersey Animal Control and Rescue as their new animal control provider.