Coyotes threaten stray cats in Queens

- Workers at Efficiency Enterprise named all the stray cats that come for food and shelter. They're sort of treated like pets. That is how it has been for two years in this industrial area of Astoria, Queens, until the coyotes moved in.

Resident Paul Santell said a pack of coyotes surrounded a union worker at the Department of Environmental Protection's water treatment plant. The DEP ordered all employees to stop feeding the stray cats, saying the food and the cats themselves have attracted an aggressive pack of coyotes.

The ban means Santell, who once worked for the Mayor's Alliance for Animals to control the cat population, can't do what he has been doing in his off time for months: which is trapping, neutering and releasing the cats back into the neighborhood. He says they aren't hurting anyone.

Rescuers say the ban is inhumane that it would only starve the dozens of cats out here most of whom they say are vaccinated and fixed and wouldn't stop the coyotes from coming around.

Since LaGuardia Airport is adjacent to this area, the Port Authority has acknowledged the danger the coyotes pose and says if it finds any coyotes on its property, it will take action.

"As a last resort in order to protect the public, and with approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the coyotes will be trapped and euthanized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture," the Port Authority said. 

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