Group tries to protect cats living near Jasper Walmart - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Group tries to protect cats living near Jasper Walmart

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JASPER, IN (WFIE) -

A group is fighting to protect a group of cats in Jasper that live near the Walmart store.

They fear many of the older cats have been killed and they say they aren't allowed to feed them or trap them.

For at least 10 years Priscilla has been taking care of them but now new management has told her she can't.

Priscilla tells us she had told each new manager she was going to be feeding the cats and working to trap, neuter, and release them back.

She says she had no issues in the past.

In June she says she was told because they are living on Walmart property she was no longer allowed to do that.

She's afraid the cats now can no longer get food and may be dying off or being removed inhumanely.

Priscilla says the easiest thing to do would be for her to remove them from the area.

We did reach out to Walmart, they say they have contacted 42 shelters in multiple states so far.

They have been told because they can not assure the cats are safe and do not have diseases, they are unadoptable.

They are looking for suggestions to remove the cats.

Priscilla says she has done that, but has not heard back from them.

Walmart officials released the following statement:

The health and safety of our customers and associates is paramount.  The cats' presence in a busy parking lot represents a hazard for the cats, and a health and safety risk for our customers, their children, and our associates.  In addition, the food is attracting other wild animals, which heighten the health and safety risks to our customers and associates who are using the parking lot. Our goal remains to remove the feral cats using the safest and most humane means. Walmart is working with local authorities and animal welfare organization to identify a safe home for the feral cats, which is not in a busy parking lot.  To date, we have reached out to 42 shelters, in multiple states, unfortunately, all of the shelters or groups we have spoken with will only take animals which they deem "adoptable".  The cats are not adoptable because there can be no assurances that they are safe to be around and that they are not carriers of disease.  We want to be part of the solution to identify a more suitable location for these animals, if anyone in the community has suggestions for a safe new home for the cats; we encourage you to please call our Customer hotline at 1-800-WALMART (925-6278).    

An important point to note: We pride ourselves on providing our management and associate teams the autonomy to tailor our stores to their communities; however, in this matter, store management does not have the discretion to allow the feral cats to remain on our property and this is not the personal decision of the store manager. Walmart is responsible for the health and safety of our customers and associates in the parking lot and inside our store.

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