Stanley Lombardo, a former Village of East Rockaway trustee, announced on Aug. 23 that he had filed a lawsuit in federal court against Town of Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino in hopes that the supervisor would reverse a decision that effectively bars Lombardo from taking care of about 40 feral cats in Oceanside.
According to Lombardo, who also served as the assistant superintendent to the Oceanside Sanitation Transfer Station, he was taking care of the almost 40 cats for at least eight years until early June, when Supervisor Santino barred Lombardo from the premises. Since then, he said that animal rights activists have noticed problems with the cats. “Every report has been no food, no water, no proper shelter,” Lombardo said. “No evidence of the animals being taken care of.”
In June, however, Gary Rogers, a spokesperson for the Nassau County SPCA, said that a detective found no problems with the accommodations set up for the cats. “The colony enjoys a spacious shelter, daily feeding and water,” Town Spokesman Mike Deery said in a statement back then.
At a June 20 town council meeting, Santino also provided photo evidence that the cats had food and water, but that did not assuage animal rights activists, such as JoAnn Winkhart a representative for the Humane Society of the United States. “I don’t believe for a minute that these cats are being taken care of,” she told the Herald at a protest criticizing Santino for the alleged mistreatment of the feral cats, adding that Santino’s answers were “insufficient” and “indirect.”