Protestors stood in front of Chaminade University Saturday afternoon with signs that read 'cat killers' and accused the school of animal cruelty.
Tensions are heating up as the feral cat population continues to overrun parts of the campus.
Various volunteer groups have been taking care of Chaminade's cat population for more than 20 years, but now they're being told to stop.
Even during day light hours you can find feral cats running around Chaminade's campus. But at night, they come out in full force.
"I get back to the dorms pretty late at night and there are just hoards of cats. They part like the red sea. It's amazing, but really creepy at the same time," Chaminade University student Marchella Versteegh said.
"They make a bunch of noise and its really hard to sleep some nights," Chaminade University student Grant McKinney said.
But for some cat lovers, these felines have become like family.
"Over the years we have spade, neutered returned about 165 to 265 cats," said Christin Matsushige, President of the Hawaii Cat Foundation.
Along with helping to manage the population, they made sure they were fed and healthy. Then this past May came the tipping point.
"The administration decided to ban the feeding of the cats and ban the program," Matsushige said.
Chaminade said in a statement:
"Its first priority must be the health and safety of its students, faculty staff and visitors. Unauthorized people continue to visit campus, leaving behind unwanted food and trash which pose health and safety hazards and liability issues."
KHON2 learned a liability claim was the tipping point for the university.
"A caregiver that fell and broke her arm while feeding the cats on campus. It wasn't that she sued the university, it was the insurance filing for that claim," Matsushige said.
Volunteers claim that their methods of Trap-Neuter-Return Management were successful. The university picked a different route, trapping the cats and sending them to the Humane Society.
"I'm just shocked there's a humane alternative that is scientifically proven to work, and an institution of higher learning like Chaminade, has chosen to go with the kill and inhumane solution," said Andy Kimura, board member for the Oahu Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
KHON2 checked with the Humane Society and they said none of the Chaminade cats are being euthanized.
Cats that have a microchip will be returned to their owners. Some are being adopted by new families and others are going to a cat sanctuary operated by Poi Dogs and Popoki, a non-profit group out of west Oahu.
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