WANTAGH - Activists say the continued presence of feral cats at Jones Beach State Park is putting the piping plover at risk.
The American Bird Conservancy filed a lawsuit against the New York State Parks office about the continued presence of the feral cats.
“It takes just one cat to kill a plover,” says Grant Sizemore, of the American Bird Conservancy.
Stephanie Capuano has been caring for the cat colony at Jones Beach for 15 years and says the cats are not a problem.
“If they're in a well-managed, well-contained colony, there's no birds there, birds don't go there,” says Capuano.
But Sizemore disagrees.
“Unfortunately these colonies serve as dumping grounds for unwanted animals that facilitate predation and also contributes to disease transmission," says Sizemore.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that there are about 200 plovers in New York. The lawsuit claims feral cats kill 20-55 birds on average each year. Gary Rogers, of the Nassau SPCA, says those numbers don’t add up.
"They can’t prove anything, they're just saying that,” says Rogers. “It's no different than walking into a neighborhood and saying it isn't a safe neighborhood because you don't like the way it looks."
Rogers believes compromise is key, but Sizemore and the American Bird Conservancy want the feral cat colony completely removed.