After receiving complaints from animal rights activists, the Hamptons Police descended last weekend upon what was billed as a charity event being held on a popular surfing beach on the South Fork. The event, promoted under the title Cats Surf for a Cause, was ostensibly taking place to raise money for charity—although none of the promotional materials specified what charity or charities stood to benefit.
Police found several hundred people gathered on the beach, many of them engaged in tethering cats onto surfboards and maneuvering the surfboards out into the waves.
“This was not like when you put a dog on a surfboard,” says Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch. “Many dogs like to swim, and they don’t mind getting wet. If they’re into it, they’ll even stand on a surfboard of their own free will. Cats—forget about it. You should have seen the struggles people were going through to get these cats firmly secured to these surfboards.”
According to Hirsch, police remained on the beach for several hours closely observing the activities, and they questioned the event’s organizers closely.
“I can’t answer for the entire event, but in the time that we were there, as far as we could tell, all of the cats that were pushed out to ride a wave were safely recovered on shore,” Hirsch says. “As to suffering or injuries, I would say that the bulk of the medical treatment we witnessed was being administered to these cats’ handlers—in the process of tying those cats down, some of them got seriously roughed up by some claws.”
In the end, Hirsch says, the police concluded that the event’s organizers and participants were not in violation of any laws, and they allowed Cats Surf for a Cause to proceed without interruption.