Mayor responds to online petition about starving & freezing cats

This online petition, started by Cynthia Mulhearn caught some traction over the weekend.

The petition has already gathered over 5,000 signatures. I sent the Mayor along with the entire Housing Authority an email about it this morning and received no reply.

Instead, this response to the petition was issued by Mayor Ken Cockayne to media outlets and posted on Facebook.

“Over the weekend, I began receiving emails and notifications through social media about an issue with feral cats on the Bonnie Acres property at the Bristol Housing Authority. A petition was actually started alleging that Bristol was starving freezing cats and kittens. It is disappointing to me that so many on social media have reported mistruths and that so many more have believed what is posted as the truth.

First and foremost, the public should know that as Mayor of the City of Bristol, I have no direct control over the Housing Authority, which is not a city agency. However, let me set the record straight. This morning I immediately contacted the Bristol Housing Authority Executive Director and the Chairman. It has been reported to me that last Thursday, January 8, 2014, the Housing Authority contacted an agency to provide TNR (Trap, Neuter and Return) services at Bonnie Acres. Reportedly, 9 stray cats have been identified. Food has been laid out in one area to attract the cats so they can be caught. Residents who were feeding the cats were instructed to stop feeding so that the cats go to the identified area to feed. This is an appropriate and humane course of action.

The general issue of feral cats will be discussed in greater detail at the January 20, 2015 meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority, held at 6:30 p.m. at the Cambridge Park Community Center. Those interested are encouraged to attend. Thank you to the Bristol Housing Authority for their swift action on this matter.”

Mitzy Rowe, Chief Executive Officer also released a statement.

“The Housing Authority of the City of Bristol continues to actively pursue appropriate and humane policies and procedures dealing with the feral cat issue at Bonnie Acres apartment complex.

A sub-committee of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the City of Bristol recently met on January 8, 2015 and discussed this matter in extensive detail. The committee has authorized the Chief Executive Officer to draft a Memorandum of Understanding in order to contract with an appropriate agency to provide Trap, Neuter and Return program (T N R). The Chief Executive Officer has been in contact with an agency, specifically, Linda Cyr, regarding this matter. Ms. Cyr is in the process of determining whether her agency would be willing to provide T N R services to the Housing Authority. Ms. Cyr has indicated that she and another volunteer will immediately commence a T N R operation at the Bonnie Acres elderly housing complex.

The Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the City of Bristol meets on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, at the Cambridge Park Community Center at 6:30 p.m. for the purposes of discussing this matter in further detail.

The Housing Authority of the City of Bristol is a public agency, which is not under the authority of the municipal government of the City of Bristol. Therefore, the municipal government of the City of Bristol has no direct responsibility for the actions of the Housing Authority of the City of Bristol.”

Concerned residents can email Mitzy Rowe at mrowe@bristolhousing.org

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