Cordial Road Cat Owner Responds to Complaints

Barbara Connolly of Yorktown says she was surprised and upset that an ongoing dispute with her neighbors became a topic for discussion recently at Town Hall – and a subsequent article in The Northern Westchester Examiner.

On June 19, three homeowners from Cordial Road appealed to the Town Board for assistance with what they described as dirty, free-roaming cats that belong to their neighbor. At the time, Town Supervisor Michael Grace told the homeowners the town has no authority because the neighbor in question is not breaking any local laws. Grace said the dispute between the neighbors was a civil matter.

After reading the article, in which a couple complained that their home had “become the Palisades Amusement Park of cat-dom,” Connolly, whose name was not published in the paper at the time, became “very upset” and called the NWE to present her side of the story.

In a phone interview Friday, Connolly said her 85-year-old mother has lived in the two-story home they share on Cordial Road for 65 years. In March, Connolly’s sister, who lived in the home along with their mother, four cats and two dogs, passed away. The sister’s animals were found homes elsewhere, and Connolly and her eight cats moved from Peekskill into her mother’s home in mid-March.

“I’ve spoken to the Police Department,” she said. “The police told me there was nothing … I’m in my legal limit. My cats are clean, neutered, [they’ve had their] shots. There’s no fleas. My cats are taken care of. I also called animal control. The code enforcement man was here. They said there was nothing [in violation of the law], that everybody has animals. The whole block has cats … It’s not a colony of wild cats. They’re not wild.”

Connolly also denied one neighbor’s charge that she’s been “recalcitrant.”

“I feel terrible,” Connolly said. “I’ve done nothing but try to appease these people. I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried everything.”

Contacted on Friday, Grace said the town first became aware of the dispute when a neighbor complained to authorities about cats “roaming in their yard and defecating on their property and disturbing their dog.” He confirmed that both police and animal control had visited the area to assess the situation.

“There’s not much we can do,” Grace said. “The cats aren’t required to be licensed, nor are they required to be leashed. It really is a civil matter. I guess [the neighbors] are frustrated. That may be understandable; I don’t know what all the facts are, but it’s difficult for the town to arbitrate neighborly disputes. It’s different people’s perspectives of what the quiet use and enjoyment of their properties are. If someone’s interfering with that on a constant basis, it’s trespass under the law, I suppose, so it would be a matter for the civil courts.”

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