SHREWSBURY: PAIR GUILTY IN WILD CAT CASE

Some of the makeshift housing created for a colony of cats behind a preschool in Shrewsbury, as seen last July. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two women were found guilty of fostering a “nuisance” colony of feral cats in a Shrewsbury office park Tuesday.

Jeanette Petti of Oceanport and Ruth Rapkin of Tinton Falls say they will appeal the verdict by municipal court Judge James Berube, as well as his order that they each pay $650 in fines and relocate the colony. That, their lawyer said, would be a “death sentence” for five cats the women feed and provide medical care for.

“We should be considered heroes, not criminals,” for ensuring the health of the wild felines and thus, the community, Petti told redbankgreen after a two-and-a-half-hour trial at a special session of the court.

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SHREWSBURY CAT COLONY HEADING TO COURT


The feral cat colony is tucked away in the woods behind a day care center and businesses on Avenue of the Commons. (Photo by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Lurking in the woods adjacent to a day care center on Shrewsbury’s Avenue of the Commons is a group of wild animals that may seem out of place in this suburban enclave better known for its burgeoning deer population.

It’s a colony of feral cats that have claimed the wilderness as their own personal scavenging ground – abetted, authorities contend, by two women who feed them at an improvised encampment built several hundred feet into the woods.

Jeanette Petti of Oceanport and Ruth Rapkin of Tinton Falls are scheduled to appear in municipal court Tuesday on charges that they’re illegally harboring the colony in the woods adjacent to the school.

The pair face misdemeanor allegations they failed to obtain vaccinations and licenses for the felines, and that they are maintaining a nuisance on public and private property, according to summonses issued May 8.

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