Petition Started For Man Charged For Feeding a NJ Cat Colony

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Wendy Mitchell of Brick, NJ has started a petition in support of  Mark Rist, who was arrested last month for feeding a cat colony in Harvey Cedars. We have a link to the petition for anyone who wishes to sign.

Neighborhood residents complained to Harvey Cedars authorities that someone was leaving food for a colony of cats living at the end of East Cape May Avenue, depositing 10 pounds of cat food at a time. The residents claimed to be offended by the smell of the food, which was removed by public works department employees. Police conducted a two month investigation before arresting Mr. Rist on December 29, charging him with littering and being a public nuisance for feeding 63 cats. Mr. Rist is scheduled to appear in municipal court for a hearing in February.  If convicted, he could face up to a $500 fine for each charge.

Issues surrounding the existence of feral cats in the borough have become contentious within the last couple of years, with public sentiment roughly evenly divided between those favoring compassion and TNR management and those considering the cats a nuisance to be dealt with, according to Michael Melchione, chief animal control officer for Stafford, which contracts with Harvey Cedars to handle their animal control needs. Harvey cedars residents made over 100 calls complaining about cat to animal control in 2011, resulting in many cats being removed and presumably put down. Animal control says the number of community cats residing locally has remained relatively constant in the time since their existence became a public issue.

Ms. Mitchell will present her petition to the court judge before the hearing; she is asking that the charges be dropped. Whether the petition influences the judge to drop the charges or not, it can let the court know that people are watching, and wish for Mr. Rist to be judged as someone acting out of  compassion and a desire to be of help. Petitions have been known to make a difference.

Here is the link to Ms. Mitchell’s petition:

Change.org Petition: Honorable Frank S. Salzer: Drop the charges on Mr. Rist for no wrong doing of feeding feral cats

14 thoughts on “Petition Started For Man Charged For Feeding a NJ Cat Colony”

  1. Drop all charges. He has not created a nuisance and is actually trying to take steps to deal with a problem that other people in the neighborhood created.

  2. Why aren’t the Authorities arresting all the nuts and sick abusers, this is just UNBELIEVABLE!!!
    This world and all these so called Authorities are getting worse by the hr, not by the day!!! FREE THIS MAN!!! Drop all charges. Don’t they have anything better to do… this is just insane and a waste of tax payers money.

  3. The charges should be dropped–everyone needs to be educated about TNR and colony management–see http://www.alleycat.org The closest feral advocacy group that teaches/practices TNR should be contacted and everyone in favor of TNR should be recruited to trap, neuter, return and help maintain this colony. This would not have become an issue, if, at the first complaint, animal control and the neighbors had become pro-active with TNR and helped this man and the cats.

  4. i live in the uk but doesnt matter where you live if any animal is hungry its only human kindness to feed them

  5. He should be given a medal not a conviction ! He is doing a service to the cats and to the community. Keep up the good work !

  6. This man deserves to be honored for his efforts to help these abandoned and homeless cats. It is the public that needs to learn to spay and neuter their pets. Many thoughtless people cruelly just dump their cat when they move, it is very cruel. Please do not prosecute this man for his kindness.

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