Some fear cats trapped in Queens building

August 24, 2010 3:30:00 PM PDT
An attempt to prevent feral cats from making themselves at home at a public housing complex in Queens is now sparking panicked criticism.

A group of cats now may be trapped in crawl spaces which have been sealed to stop other cats from getting in.

Signs posted around the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City hint at what had been a problem.

They warn residents not to feed the cats.

Yolanda Talaveria says there were hundreds of cats that were flea-infested and dangerous.

"Little gangster cats. It's weird. It's freaky. Especially when they attacked my dog," Talaveria said.

Crews hired by the New York City Housing Authority sealed off crawl spaces around the complex to keep out the strays and eliminate the problems.

But, animal activists claim some of the cats remain inhumanely trapped.

"Fine if they seal the crawl spaces, we don't want them to seal live animals in these buildings," said Debi Romano of the SaveKitty Foundation.

Eyewitness News only saw one cat Tuesday at Ravenswood.

It had been caught in one of the traps set in the basement, and was turned over to the SaveKitty Foundation.

Residents, meanwhile, have noticed the absent felines.

"Usually used to see cats all over the place, but lately I haven't seen as many," Robin Pearson said.

"Well, its good the cats are gone," Michelle Burke said.

Not everyone agrees.

"We're going to be rat infested, just like the city," Diana Beretta said.

The housing authority says its primary concern is the health and safety of the people who live here, but it will continue to work with the SaveKitty Foundation to make sure any trapped cats are freed.