LANESBOROUGH, Mass. (WWLP) – In freezing cold temperatures and winter storms, 13 cats were left, abandoned, in extreme winter weather conditions.
MSPCA, Lanesborough and Massachusetts State Police Departments are conducting an investigation to find who abandoned these 13 cats. Of the 13 cats, 11 survived due to the efforts from the staff at Berkshire Humane Society. These cats were found separated in two different locations in Berkshire County on January 28th.
The MSPCA’s Law Enforcement team have filed 15 charges against two people, Kelly Hathaway of Pittsfield and Arthur Raney of Pittsfield, in the Central Berkshire District Court on February 22nd and the charges are set to be arraigned on March 18th.
“I’m grateful to fellow investigators at the Lanesborough Police Dept. and the Massachusetts State Police for their investigative work, as well as members of the public who provided information to investigators. I would also like to thank Berkshire Humane Society for taking care of the surviving cats,” said Tom Grenham, director of the MSPCA’s Law Enforcement department.
“This case is particularly disturbing given the many avenues available to safely surrender the animals vs. leaving them outside on one of the coldest days of the year,” he added.
Animal cruelty is considered a felony crime in the state of Massachusetts. This crime can be charged up to 7 years in prison with a maximum fine of $5,000.
The cats who survived these harsh conditions are currently at Berkshire Humane Society and have been reported to be ‘coming out of their shells’ and are doing very well.
“They were initially a little nervous after what they had been through, but they’re becoming friendlier and more sociable, and we expect there will be no shortage of loving homes once they’re available for adoption,” said Berkshire Humane Society Executive Director John Perreault.
The abandoned cats range from the ages of 5 months to 5 years old. There are four female cats and seven male cats currently. All of the cats will be vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed or neutered. They are all up for adoption.
If you would like to adopt, Perreault advises you to see which cats are up for adoption at Berkshire Humane Society or call 413-447-7878, extension 124.
“This is one of the worst abandonment cases we’ve ever seen, and it didn’t have to come to this. In addition to having a shelter where people can surrender pets for any reason, we offer programs to help pet owners in need, including a pet food pantry,” said Perreault.
He also added, “Our team is so grateful to everyone who stepped in to help—from the good Samaritans who found the cats and reached out to us, to our Community Cat Program and other volunteers who helped capture them to the investigators pursuing justice in this case.”