ROSLYN ESTATES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some pet lovers on Long Island are fighting against a proposal they fear will starve stray cats living in backyards.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, some trustees in Roslyn Estates are considering banning the feeding of wild animals after receiving complaints that a growing number of homeowners are leaving out food and drink — all day and all night — for undomesticated animals that could carry rabies or other diseases.

The intent of the legislation “was to try to avoid the creation of a public nuisance by attracting vermin and rodents,” said Bryan Rivera, Roslyn Estates village clerk.

The Ausubels, who are local birdwatchers, said they worry that growing populations of feral cats are killing songbirds.

“Cats that are outside have a very difficult life,” Seth Ausubel said. “And they are predators. They are not part of the environment.”

But others say they feel a duty to take care of all animals.

“We can’t let creatures of nature die,” said Stewart Klein, a Roslyn Estates homeowner. “We’re not the king of the kingdom.”

“I have three cats on my own, and they are like my children,” added Patricia Matuza, a feral cat owner. “And I can’t imagine starving my children.”

The Humane Urban Group in Long Island calls it a dangerous health issue.

“If you stop feeding, they will scatter and find food in Dumpsters, in garbage cans,” Karin Hancock of the Humane Urban Group said.

Advocates say a better solution is calling in trappers to spay and neuter.

“Not just Roslyn, every community here on Long Island — this cat situation, the overpopulation of cats, is out of control,” said Wendy Bonczek. “We all know it.”

The proposed stray animal feeding ban is becoming so explosive that the village Board of Trustees has decided to put discussions on hold, postponing any possible action.

Some residents say the village code should allow the feeding of wild birds, ducks and swans in backyards and at ponds.

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