Early the morning of October 28th, we discovered that the entirety of the cat shelters at Pier 70 on the Delaware River waterfront in Philadelphia were destroyed by an act of arson. This was the third arson attack on this cat colony's shelters in the past two weeks. These are targeted, methodical attacks.
This time, the fire destroyed every single shelter. There is now nowhere for these cats to go. This third fire happened the same day that our nonprofit, Stray Cat Relief Fund, was holding an event to winterize the cat shelters for the upcoming cold season.
We still winterized shelters on surrounding piers, despite the huge risk of using fresh straw to do so. We are worried not about if, but when this will happen again.
We are seeking donations to build new shelters and to also create legitimate security measures to protect the cats and the area they inhabit. Volunteers from the Stray Cat Relief Fund have attempted for years to activate the cooperation of the landowner to institute a better security plan, but to no avail.
This is not only about the cats, but is a public safety matter. We do not know who is committing these crimes, and they NEED to be caught. Law enforcement is sort of involved, but nobody has any leads on whom it could possibly be. These are dangerous people.
The Stray Cat Relief Fund is holding a fundraiser
Saturday Nov. 4th. The funds were intended to further its rescue efforts to sterilize, vaccinate, feed, and save more cats. However, much of the funds will now need to be put towards building more shelters, as well as some sort of security plan.Donations from this fundraiser will contribute to:
1. New shelters for the cats:
- Straw, barrels, plastic containers, and other types of structures that can be used as outdoor houses.
- Tools and materials like gloves, gardening tools, trash bags, etc.
- Currently also researching better designs and structures that higher quality and more heavy duty than the ones that we had in place such as sheds and other enclosures.
2. Security measures (These are what we feel is absolutely necessary and invite the input of professionals in this area to help wit
h ideas that can be implemented. )
- Higher fences with barbed wire so that nobody can climb and enter the area. Locked gates for entry.
-Hidden cameras with live feeds 24/7
- Possibly an enclosure inside of the fenced area so nothing can be thrown over the fences.
- Better patrols of the area need to be instituted. (The Delaware River Waterfront Corp. who owns the land has patrols, but not at the necessary scale.)
3. Depending on the amount raised, we will offer a reward to whomever finds and turns-in the perpetrator.
The more funds that are collected, the more we will invest in secure, higher-end shelters with airtight security measures. We are receiveing overwhelming support, so any excess will be used towards the orgs. efforts of TNR (Trap-Neuter- Return), vet care, vaccinations, food, etc. We will keep you informed of how each dollar is spent.
(kittiens that were rescued from the first fire)
These cat colonies, which house hundreds of cats, have been active at the piers for over 30 years. Stray Cat Relief Fund became involved about four years ago. The president of the organization and its volunteers have self-funded the efforts to build and maintain shelters as well as feed the cats.
This situation at the piers is not sustainable and the cats are in serious trouble. These cats need food and shelter and the volunteers who provide it are fighting an uphill battle against crime and a lack of cooperation.
We DEEPLY appreciate all of you who donate and even just decide to share. Awareness about this issue is just as important as the resources needed to rebuild and start bettering this situation for our furry friends.
Thank you for your time, your consideration, your possible donation, and your love for the kitties.
- Alexa Ahrem, on behalf of the Stray Cat Relief Fund Stray Cat Relief Fund on Facebook Stray Cat Relief Fund website