Volunteers fighting to save nearly two dozen stray cats living in Newport News park

Posted at 2:16 PM, Jan 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-03 16:47:13-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Lynn Giglio gets emotional talking about stray cats living and scattered about Christopher Newport Park in Newport News.

"Unfortunately, feral cats are the first ones euthanized," said Giglio.

For years she and a handful of other volunteers have spent their own money feeding, spaying, neutering and vaccinating the two dozen cats that roam the park.

"Once someone discovered the cats were here, private citizens stood up to get the cats fixed. They are vaccinated, they are loved all on our cost," she explained.

Giglio and others are big advocates for "TNR," known as "Trap, Neuter Spay and Release." She says it's a humane way to deal with the overpopulation of cats.

"This is a 100% foolproof way the cats can't reproduce," said Giglio.

But now the cats' home is in jeopardy.

That's because the City of Newport News is getting ready later this year to make park improvements as part of its Downtown Vision Plan. That plan includes removing all the vegetation where the cats live.

"It's upsetting," said Giglio.

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Volunteers who care for the cats have applied to maintain a registered cat colony at no expense to the city, but the city denied that request, stating that the park was unfit for cats to live to do the impending park construction.

The city told News 3 they are giving the volunteers time to remove and transfer the cats before construction begins, but right now Giglio says they have no place to transfer the cats.

"When people spend money to take care of them, you hope they get to live out their lives," she explained.

They have started a petition in hopes that the city council will reconsider the denied request at the next council meeting slated for January 14.