Cat Charity Leases Nay Aug Zoo From Scranton

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SCRANTON -- The old zoo at Nay Aug Park in Scranton has not had animals or visitors for five years, but you will soon see changes there.

Scranton has leased the zoo to a non-profit organization that helps animals.

A walk around the loop at Nay Aug Park in Scranton brings back memories for park-goers of a certain age. The younger ones don't really remember this run down building when it was a zoo.

"Well, I've looked at it and I think the elephant didn't have much room," said Troy Kester of Clarks Summit.

The elephant moved out of the zoo more than a decade ago. It hasn't been used since 2009 when Genesis Wildlife Center moved out of the building at Nay Aug Park. Since then it's only been an eyesore for people who use the park.

"I walk here all the time and I had a relationship with those animals. So, I was sad to see them go. It's deplorable now they should either do something with it or destroy it," said Nancy Marks of Scranton.

This week, Joanne Davis of Scranton was handed the keys to the zoo from city officials and took Newswatch 16 inside. The cages were ripped out, and the ceiling recently collapsed, but Davis and her non-profit organization Street Cats have a vision there. They will use the building to spay and neuter feral cats.

They have done it for several years in a mobile home. The point is to drive down the feral cat population in Scranton.

Now, fixing up the Nay Aug Zoo is an added bonus.

"Nay Aug has been a part of my family for many years, I'm thrilled. I'm thrilled to have the honor to rebuild it," she said.

People who visit Nay Aug Park were most looking forward to the change in scenery.

"If they are going to change it into a charity for feral cats I think that will be a good use, rather than falling into disrepair of course," said Jeanne DeVirgilis of Clarks Summit.

Street Cats will lease the zoo from the city for five years for a total cost of $5.

Mayor Bill Courtright said the improvements to the old zoo though, are priceless.

"They're going to come in, they're going to renovate it, they're going to spruce it up. They will breathe life back in to it," Mayor Courtright said.

Joanne Davis of Street Cats said most of the work needed at the zoo building is cosmetic. She thinks they can start spaying and neutering cats there in just a few weeks.

Other improvements to the outside of the zoo will take longer and they are depending solely on donations.

You can donate on the Street Cats Facebook page.


  • Stephanie Haugen

    Trap-Neuter-Return is smart and a proven remedy for feral cat population control. It is so exciting that our town is joining in this popular trend that can only better our community. A fixed cat is a healthier, happier cat AND most importantly, one that isn’t producing litter after litter after litter of kittens. I applaud everyone for pursuing this future-thinking endeavor and supporting it!!!

  • Reuben

    I could be wrong but isn’t a feral cat always going to be a feral cat? Like if you bring it into your home it will basically rip your face off like another wild animal would?

    • Dexter Morgan

      I’m thinking that this organization doesn’t just spay/neuter feral cats, but also cats that may be outdoor cats so to keep the kitten population down. Thus creating less cats likely to become feral.

      • Linda Weiland

        Dexter, you’re absolutely right. The goal of St. Cats is to reduce the number of kittens born. Fact: Only ONE of every TWELVE cats born gets a home.

    • LC

      The don’t put the cats up for adoption. They spay/neuter them then release them back where they found them. The feral cats reduce the local pest population, so it’s beneficial to have them in our neighborhoods. If they removed the cats all together and just put them down, a new cat would just move in. This way, they cats can take care of rats/mice without reproducing. I mean, seriously?

      • Reuben

        Who monitors these animals once they’re re-released. They carry diseases just like the rodents do. Let nature take its course not feral cats!

    • Reuben

      A truly feral cat should simply be destroyed. It’s almost impossible to tame them. I’ve come up close to them when they came after my son. They’re not pleasant to human beings.

    • Linda Weiland

      All free-roaming cats aren’t feral, some are house cats that have been abandoned. These cats DO want homes. I rescued one that someone dumped and he’s the sweetest cat ever. Also, feral kittens can be socialized and make great pets. As for the true ferals, they are beneficial to a community once they’re neutered and vaccinated. Please Google TNR, there’s some great info out there.

  • Linda Weiland

    Please check out (and “like”) our page, “St. Cats Scranton PA”, for updates regarding the progress of the renovation and information on how to donate. There’s a link for PayPal and credit cards, and checks can be sent to “St. Cats Scranton PA”, c/o 1900 E. Gibson St., Scranton, PA 18510.

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