May 2017
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Reminders:
2017 RACE DATES

MEADOWLANDS - Post Time 7:15pm
March 17 - August 5, 2017
Fridays & Saturdays

September 8 - September 16, 2017
Fridays & Saturdays

November 17 - December 2, 2017
Fridays & Saturdays

December 7 - December 30, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays

FREEHOLD - Post Time 12:30pm
September 1 - December 9, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays
Special Race Day Monday September 4, 2017

December 28 - December 30, 2017
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays



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MEADOWLANDS RACETRACK TO FEED AND CARE FOR FERAL CATS ON ITS PROPERTY

Link to North Jersey.co

MEADOWLANDS RACETRACK TO FEED AND CARE FOR FERAL CATS ON ITS PROPERTY
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2015, 3:01 PM
BY LINDA MOSS
STAFF WRITER, THE RECORD

EAST RUTHERFORD — The operator of the Meadowlands Racetrack has agreed to feed and care for the colonies of feral cats that live on the land it leases at the Meadowlands Sports Complex, taking over the duty from a man who had been the felines’ unofficial caretaker for about a decade.

Michael Marra, 59, of Bloomfield, said Monday that he is happy that the fate of the roughly 90 cats is no longer in jeopardy, now that the track’s operator, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, has stepped up.

“The racetrack is going to pay for the food and going to pay for the people to feed them: It’s a 100 percent win,” said Marra, a former part-time firefighter at the Meadowlands Sports Complex who is now an inspector for the state Department of Health in Trenton.

“My only concern is what’s going to happen tonight,” Marra said.

He is slated to appear in East Rutherford Municipal Court on Monday night on summonses he received from the state police last for criminal trespassing and violating a borough ordinance that bars the feeding of wild or stray animals. Marra had written permission from the racetrack to feed the cats on its site. And local officials can’t recall the ordinance on feral animals ever being enforced at the sports complex, which is run by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

Marra’s attorney, Anthony DiSalvo, said he plans to ask that the summonses be dismissed.

The feral felines are descendants of the barn cats that were brought to the track decades ago to control rodents and other vermin at the stables. But horses are no longer housed at the track and many of the barns have been torn down. The area has become a dumping ground for people who abandon pets.

Marra has been feeding the cats early in the morning, around 4:15 a.m. or so, on a daily basis for years, paying for their food out of his own pocket. Most recently, he has been spending about $400 a week on cat chow.

After Marra received his summonses last month, Darin Zoccali, the racetrack’s director of operations, held a meeting with state troopers and Kathleen O’Malley, director of Trap-Neuter-Release Education for the New York City Feral Cat initiative, a program associated with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Alliance for New York City Animals.

Last Thursday Marra received a voicemail message from Zoccali saying that there had been a resolution to the situation regarding the cats on the racetrack’s site.

“We have worked out a process in which we’re going to be getting these cats fed and looked after internally,” Zoccali told Marra. “That is going to be our plan going forward. It’s already been under way. And I have other things in the works to make sure that the cats are well-looked after and taken care as well, long term. … You are no longer needed to come down here to do what you’ve been doing. We certainly appreciate your efforts in years past. I know it’s caused you some trouble. We’re certainly sorry about that.”

Last Friday, DiSalvo received a letter from Zoccali reiterating what he had told Marra.

In that letter, Zoccali wrote that after meeting with the Sports Authority, the racetrack would move forward with feeding the cats and also “bring in veterinary assistance to supply the cats with whatever is needed to ensure their health.” The letter said that Marra’s presence on the track’s property was no longer necessary.

Zoccali said it was his letter from January that gave Marra permission to feed the feral cats on the track’s site. The state police had told Marra that East Rutherford’s ordinance against feeding feral animals superseded that letter.

Zoccali Monday referred questions on the feral cats to the Sports Authority. Helen Strus, the authority’s director of marketing and communications and external affairs, said in an email that the track was taking over feeding the cats.



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