Oyster Bay town officials have ordered a nonprofit wildlife rescue group that’s saved thousands of animals across the New York metro area over the past decade to remove critters from their North Massapequa home.
A town code official issued a notice of violation to Bobby and Cathy Horvath last week for harboring dangerous animals in violation of town code following an anonymous complaint. It’s unclear what this means for the future of Wildlife In Need Of Rescue & Rehabilitation, which has rescued about 500 animals annually since 2002.
“We love what we do and we are not going to stop helping animals,” Cathy told the New York Daily News.
Marta Kane, a town spokeswoman, said, “We are trying to work with them.” She added that the town is being flexible in giving the couple extra time to get the animals out of their house, but an inspector is expected to revisit the house next week.
The group is licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1998.
The family has had a declawed Bobcat caged in their backyard, along with several hawks and turkeys. But the town says they can’t keep wildlife in their house if it puts neighbors at risk.
About 2,000 people signed an online petition to keep the group from being shut down as of Thursday evening.
“I don’t know what we would do without them,” said Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, noting that April is Animal Cruelty Awareness Month. “They just want to help these animals out. Who else are you going to go to?”