NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Residents in Brooklyn are accusing the MTA of starving stray cats at a train station.
For the last 5 years, a colony of stray cats has called an Avenue O subway station home, CBS2’s Elise Finch reported.
Some live in holes in the walls of the subway tunnels, others in spaces on top of the tunnels.
Some Staphangers would often feed the adult cats on their way to the N train platform.
“I see them over here. Me and my husband sometimes come feed them, so I don’t see a problem,” said Keira Mincey.
Eventually, the unsightly mess and overpowering odor from dozens of cats prompted complaints to the MTA.
“It’s just multiplying. You feed one and the next thing you know you have a bunch of them coming around,” said Secundino Salgado.
A few weeks ago, employees installed mesh in every place people might be able to get close to the cats.
Now, some are accusing the MTA of trying to starve the feral felines. Someone wrote “MTA Murders Cats” on a station wall.
A spokesperson for the MTA said “If animals are spotted on our property or tracks, we try our best to remove them without causing them injury.”
But some animal lovers think the agency is taking the wrong approach.
“Their philosophy is if they don’t get fed and there’s no food, they’ll leave but they’re not leaving,” said animal activist Jose Hidalgo.
Animal activists told Finch they actually want the same thing the MTA does: to remove the cats from the train station once and for all. But in order for that to happen, they have to work together.
Members of the non-profit Ferals in Peril offered their volunteers to trap, neuter and relocate the cats if the MTA would allow it.
“Right now the cats are hungry and they’re very vulnerable to be trapped and this is what we want to do,” said Peter Szalaiko, with Ferals in Peril.
The MTA said “We strongly advise against attempts by members of the public to catch or rescue cats, or any other animals on our property because of the potential dangers involved.”
But animal activists say time is running out; the cats are mating and it’s only a matter of time before a new litter of kittens calls the subway station home, Finch reported.
On Tuesday evening, a spokesperson for the MTA told CBS2 they are now working with the city’s Center for Animal Care & Control to remove the cats from the Bensonhurst train station.