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Cats vs birds: Natural enemies the focus of NY legal battle

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WANTAGH, N.Y. (AP) — Forget Sylvester and Tweety: A real-life battle is brewing on New York’s Jones Beach over the natural tension between cats and birds.

An American Bird Conservancy lawsuit claims the state is failing to adequately protect the endangered piping plover by allowing cat lovers to feed and care for a colony of feral felines on the barrier island where the birds nest.

The federal suit wants the cats removed.

Advocates on both sides of the debate say the creatures are defenseless and could not survive without human help.

Bird lovers say the fact that the cats are well-fed does not reduce their instinct to hunt.

Volunteers say they keep about 15 cats in makeshift shelters far away from bird nesting areas.

A state parks official declined to comment.

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