UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Crews were called to an Upper Marlboro shopping center Friday to haul debris from a feral cat colony plagued by trash and vultures after being ordered to clean up the site by Prince George's County officials.

Meanwhile, makeshift shelters crafted from discarded storage bins that were scattered through the property have been replaced by a smaller number of clean pet shelters at the site.

feral cat shelter
Makeshift shelters were replaced with new, clean shelters at the site.

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Feral cats are still present, despite warnings from conservation organizations that the animals act as an "invasive species" in the environment that kill native wildlife and spread disease.

Volunteers who care for the cats on wooded property near dumpsters and a retaining wall at the Marlboro Square Shopping Center off Crain Highway were not available to comment.

crews clean up feral cat community
People clean up a feral cat camp in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Prince George's County Animal Services officials say feral cats are a serious problem in the county. However cats marked with a cut to their ear indicating they have been captured, spayed or neutered and released by volunteers are not automatically euthanized.

County policy requires Animal Services to contact volunteer organizations to pick up the ferals within three days.

Frequently volunteers release them back into the wild.