Cat fight: Woman claims Oakdale co-op board is forcing her to abandon strays

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OAKDALE -

A woman's passion to take care of stray animals in Oakdale has turned into a 'cat fight' between her and the co-op board of the complex where she lives.

Maryann Hamilton has been caring for seven stray cats for 6 1/2 years. The strays that she feeds live behind a fence at the Birchwood on the Green co-op where Hamilton lives.

Hamilton received a letter from the co-op's attorney that stated the cats need to go. The letter says the cat shelter she's providing creates a hazardous condition and is a liability for the co-op. The attorney says Hamilton must remove the cats by April 25.

"I was shocked," says Hamilton. "Because they've been here for 6 1/2 years and they're not really bothering anybody. This is all they know. This is their home. This is where they get fed."

Hamilton's attorney Karen Copeland says the law is on the cats' side.

"This is their home," says Copeland. "This is all they know. Under Agricultural and Markets Law 353 to deprive an animal of sustenance, regular sustenance is a misdemeanor, a class A misdemeanor."

Paul Llobel, of the Suffolk SPCA, says the organization doesn't want to take a side. He says the group just wants to be sure there is no neglect or animal cruelty.

News 12 reached out to the co-op board president and the attorney but has not heard back.

Hamilton says she's only just begun to fight for her feline friends.

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