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US National Park Service sued over plan to trap Puerto Rico’s famous stray cats | National parks

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US National Park Service sued over plan to trap Puerto Rico’s famous stray cats | National parks


National parks

Activists say plan to remove 200 felines near Old San Juan fortress within six months is not enough time and worry cats will be killed

Associated Press

Thu 28 Mar 2024 21.20 EDT

A non-profit organization said Thursday that it sued the US National Park Service over a plan to remove Puerto Rico’s famous stray cats from a historic district in the US territory.

The lawsuit filed by Maryland-based Alley Cat Allies comes four months after the federal agency announced it would contract an animal welfare organization to remove an estimated 200 cats that live in an area surrounding a historic seaside fortress in Old San Juan.

A stray cat rests on a statue in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 2 November 2022. Photograph: Alejandro Granadillo/AP

The organization would decide whether the trapped cats would be adopted, placed in foster homes, kept in a shelter or face other options. It wasn’t immediately clear if an organization has been hired.

At the time, the National Park Service said it would hire a removal agency if the organization it contracted failed to remove the cats within six months.

The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Stray cats rest under a tree in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 2 November 2022. Photograph: Alejandro Granadillo/AP

Tourists and locals have long considered the cats both a delight and a nuisance, with the National Park Service stating in 2022 that the population had grown too much as it noted the smell of urine and feces in the area.

Activists have decried the plan, saying six months is insufficient time to remove so many cats and worried they would be killed.

In its lawsuit, Alley Cat Allies requested additional environmental statements from the federal agency and asked that a judge find its actions allegedly violate acts including the National Environmental Protection Act.



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