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Brick Woman: Man's Arrest For Feeding Feral Cats Was Unfair

Resident created petition calling for Harvey Cedars police to drop charges against Mark Rist, who was arrested for leaving food for the cats near the beach on LBI

 

A Brick woman is circulating an online petition in support of a Stafford Township man arrested for feeding feral cats in Harvey Cedars last month.

Wendy Mitchell wants the small town on the north end of Long Beach Island to drop public nuisance and littering charges against 51-year-old Mark Rist, whom police arrested after investigating his actions for two months.

When Mitchell read of Rist’s arrest in the Asbury Park Press; "I was kind of outraged," she said. “There was no wrongdoing. He was only doing a kind deed.”

Harvey Cedars Police said in a press release that residents on East Cape May Avenue regularly complained about someone dumping 10 pounds of cat food at a time at the end of their street. Borough public works employees had to be called in to clean up the food when it got wet and began to smell, said officials. 

Police “put together a timeline pattern” and waited for Rist to appear Dec. 29, according to the release. They arrested him just as he emptied a large bag of cat food just off the beach walkway at 7:35 p.m.

Officials said in the release that Rist’s actions undermined their own efforts to control the feral cat population, claiming the borough has spent more than $5,800 in fees to have trapped cats taken to the local animal shelter. That’s on top of the $3,000 they pay for animal control services, they said.

“Residents are urged not to feed feral cats so that their numbers will decrease,” the press release said. “Some groups have caught and spayed or neutered feral cats and released them. Anyone who feeds these cats may end up being responsible for them."

But Mitchell said the borough wasted resources by going after Rist. If they really cared about bringing down the population, she said, they’d put money into an organized “trap, neuter and release” program. There’s no other way to humanely solve the problem, she said.

“They need to start a TNR program instead of complaining about a man doing a good deed,” Mitchell said. “I understand that it’s a nuisance. But I’d rather see them live there and be cared for than taken to a shelter and put to sleep because they can’t be domesticated.”

Mitchell started an online petition calling for the borough to drop its charges against Rist, and has been promoting it through Facebook. [Click here to read the petition.]

So far, 377 people from around the world have signed, many leaving comments supporting Rist. She said she plans to print out the petition and comments and show up at Rist’s pending court hearing, which will take place on a yet unnamed day in February. 

“I’d be more than happy to back the man up,” she said.

As for her hometown, Brick has recently to enact a TNR program in the township.

Related Topics: Wendy Mitchell and brick nj news

lisa January 21, 2012 at 04:04 PM
i wouldn't want him doing that near my house and i am an animal lover. he should be fined.
Mattie January 21, 2012 at 04:08 PM
The fact that these cats are getting used to being fed in one area, makes them easier to catch now, to be spayed and neutered. That should be the goal of any animal lover or animal control agency in the area. Take up a neighborhood donation to put towards low cost spaying and neutering, instead of wasting time and money arresting people for something like this. Also feeding the feral cats like this keeps them out of your garbage bags and cans and from killing birds for food.... Well, it helps anyway.
walt tupycia January 21, 2012 at 11:29 PM
rabbies?
walt tupycia January 21, 2012 at 11:30 PM
what happens if your child gets bit by one of these rabid cats?
Mattie January 22, 2012 at 12:17 AM
There is no indication or suspicions that any of these cats are sick with rabies. Rabies in this area is rare. Even more rare in winter months.
Felicia Luburich January 22, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Here in NJ caged pet rabbits have contracted RABIES. Don't assume it is not a threat. They also pass reound worms which can cause blindness in young children. They also carry toxoplasmosis. Pregnant women can catch it & the child can be mentally ruined IN UTERO. Feral animals should be trapped & removed. Anyone who loves them should adopt them & take them home. Ferral cats also kill ground nesting birds. They are NOT a natural preditor in No. America. If laws with strict fines & mandatory chipping of all pets ( Inc. snakes) were in place feral animals would disappear. The producer would be mandated to take them back & be responsible for them. HUGE fines would ensure compliance.
Mattie January 22, 2012 at 02:19 AM
yes, and you can walk 10 feet out your front door tomorrow and be hit by a run-away bus. Same chance as getting rabies from one of these cats. There have been 30 cases of rabies among cats in Ocean County.......... in the last TWENTY TWO years. The state averages about FIVE (5) cases of rabies in cats every year for the last few years.... that's the total for the entire state, not Ocean County. Chances are very very slim these cats 1. have rabies, and 2. They will come anywhere near enough to bite you or a kid. Let's not panic.
Mattie January 22, 2012 at 02:22 AM
*Millions* of pregnant women have cats in their homes (using kitty litter) .... the risk is minimal if one is careful about hand washing, etc. If you don't come into contact with these feral cats, or their poop, there's no chance you'll get any horrible disease -- in utero or not.
Albert D January 22, 2012 at 08:11 AM
You might also enjoy knowing ... If you advocate for cats as rodent-control on farms and ranches you've already doomed them to being destroyed by drowning or shooting when it becomes a financial liability more than any asset. Ranchers and farmers worldwide are fully aware that cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasite can cause the very same birth defects (hydrocephaly and microcephaly), still-births, and miscarriages in their livestock and important wildlife as it can in pregnant women. This is why any cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock and wildlife-management areas in the most efficient, humane, and least-expensive method available. Common rural practice everywhere. The risk of financial loss from dead livestock and important native wildlife from an invasive-species cat is far too great to do otherwise. The next time you bite into that whole-grain veggie-muffin or McBurger, you need to just envision biting down on a shot-dead or drowned kitten or cat. For that's precisely how that food supply got to your mouth -- whether you want to face up to it or not. It's not going to change reality no matter how much you twist your mind away from the truth of your world. If you want to blame someone for the drowning and shooting of cats, you need to prosecute yourself -- every time you eat.
Albert D January 22, 2012 at 08:12 AM
Mattie, Look at what ANOTHER ONE OF _YOUR_ CATS has done... http://cjonline.com/news/2012-01-06/2-county-youngsters-exposed-rabies Aren't you so very proud of yourselves for what you and your beliefs are causing. Want some more links just as bad? Here's a couple more: http://valleybreeze.com/2011/12/21/observer/police-to-press-charges-against-owner-of-rabid-domestic-cat http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/09/23/2631106/rabid-cat-adopted-from-wake-county.html The net is flooded with stories just like those. All thanks to YOU and people JUST LIKE YOU. YOU are the cause of this.
Albert D January 22, 2012 at 08:19 AM
These are just the diseases they spread to humans, not counting the ones they spread to all wildlife. THERE ARE NO VACCINES against many of these, and are in-fact listed as bio-terrorism agents. They include: Campylobacter Infection, Cat Scratch Disease, Coxiella burnetti Infection (Q fever), Cryptosporidium Infection, Dipylidium Infection (tapeworm), Hookworm Infection, Leptospira Infection, Giardia, Plague, Rabies, Ringworm, Salmonella Infection, Toxocara Infection, Toxoplasma. [Centers for Disease Control, July 2010] Flea-borne Typhus and Tularemia can now also be added to that list. The plague: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8059908 http://www.pagosasun.com/archives/2011/07July/072811/webplague.html Tularemia (rabbit-fever, transmissible to humans): http://www.westyellowstonenews.com/news/article_02fceec6-f695-11e0-b752-001cc4c002e0.html Flea-borne Typhus: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/county-317133-animals-cases.html Hookworm -- that ruined businesses in parts of Miami: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2010-11-24/news/fl-miami-beach-hookworms-20101123_1_hookworm-infections-feral-miami-beach Another Fun-Fact: Any rodents infected with cats' T gondii parasite are attracted to cat urine. http://scitizen.com/neuroscience/parasite-hijacks-the-mind-of-its-host_a-23-509.html http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070403-cats-rats.html. If you want more rodents and their diseases around, keep cats to attract them right to your door.
Mattie January 22, 2012 at 12:56 PM
You really should seek professional help for your obsession (read: paranoia) regarding cats. And I don't appreciate your nasty tone and name calling either. Did you know there are MANY diseases that are spread to humans from DOGS as well? And Parrots/Birds? And snakes? --and just about any other domestic animal we humans keep as pets? Did you know that livestock that we eat also carry diseases transferable to humans? It's a dirty world we live in... germs and disease everywhere. So stay indoors! Don't go near wild life! Don't touch pets -- Not your own or anyone's else's! RUN!!!
Mattie January 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM
yeah, the plague.... It's a real problem these days.
Mattie January 22, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Apparently Albert does... you know, just to keep the rest of us safe.
Steve January 22, 2012 at 01:14 PM
You can tell it's a slow month for the shore cops with no Bennies or Snookies to bust if they had to stake out a guy who feeds feral cats. The police force was not doing anything anyway other than interrupting a coffee and doughnut run.
Eggs-n-Toast January 22, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Albert D, Theoretically, if a spay and neuter program was implemented, and implemented to 100% efficiency, feral cats would eventually die out without reproducing. That is at least a _chance_ at a solution for bringing the numbers way down -- eventually. Setting aside your obvious and irrational hysteria, I don't see any solutions from you. Or am I misreading your posts; are you advocating killing any and all free roaming cats everywhere? Whether they are "pets" or not? Not a very practical solution in the real world. And I'm sure that would piss off plenty of responsible cat owners and animal lovers in general. Another note: those cats in the picture above; they seem awful plump, clean and healthy looking. For all you know, some of them may be already spayed and neutered pets just outside for some fresh air (and free food). PETA much?
Albert D January 22, 2012 at 02:06 PM
If you do the research, as I did using data from the most "successful" TNR programs, you'll easily find that not even *ONE* TNR program has EVER trapped more than 0.4% of existing cats in any one area for over a decade now. They simply cannot trap them faster than they breed out of control, no matter what they do. And those cats that learn to evade traps go on to produce offspring that now also know how to evade any trapping method used. On advice of the local sheriff where I live I used a .22 equipped with a good illuminated-scope and a laser-sight for use when they are most active, dusk to dawn; as well as to afford precision aim for a humane kill. I shot every last one of them on my property to restore all the native wildlife to proper balance. 100% total success! This is even a more humane method than terrorizing trapping and animal-shelter methods. And contrary to TNR LIES, not ONE cat replaced them, NATIVE WILDLIFE THAT BELONGS HERE RETURNED.
Albert D January 22, 2012 at 02:08 PM
I've a box full of collars. Perfectly legal to shoot someone else's animal that is threatening the health, well-being, or life of others where I live, someone's pet or not. There's absolutely NO difference between a stray and feral cat. BOTH are invasive-species. BOTH are destroying native wildlife. BOTH are spreading diseases deadly to wildlife and humans. If people want to keep invasive-species for pets they need to keep them confined and quarantined ACCORDING TO LAW. The loss of their cats is THEIR fault, not mine. Let the criminally-irresponsible parents explain to their children why their behavior and values got their cat killed by gun or car or animal attacks or any of the other ways that your cats that you don't really care about get killed. Perhaps in that lesson of explaining to their children why their criminally-irresponsible behavior got their kid's cat killed that the parents too will grow up into morally and ethically responsible humans one day. Whether they get killed by animal attack or road-kill or by gun it's all the same thing. YOUR lack of concern for that cat is what got it killed, there is NO OTHER REASON. You lousy "cat-lover" hypocrites, you're all the same.
Eggs-n-Toast January 22, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Albert-- Wow, you are seriously rude, abusive, and out of control!! I think you may be a real danger to yourself or loved ones. get help.
Eggs-n-Toast January 22, 2012 at 02:31 PM
I don't own cats, Albert D. And I'll be notifying Patricia Miller demanding your posts be removed. And if anyone else here is tired of this kind of abuse and obnoxiousness, please flag his posts so they are removed. Albert has mental issues obviously. He's commented on NO OTHER TOPIC except hating cats, since June, 2011. Look at his profile.
Robin Zukowski January 23, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Albert D - you are a very scary man. I sure do hope we never cross paths. Humanely shoot cats???? Really?
StayCalm January 23, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Those are not "beliefs"... they are FACTS. here's your link: http://nj.gov/health/cd/documents/rabcases2011.pdf
StayCalm January 23, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Albert = very scary indeed.

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