PITTSFIELD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) issued a statement that eleven cats have been rescued after their owners allegedly abandoned them in two separate locations in Berkshire county during January's winter storm emergency.
The MSPCA Law Enforcement department said in a statement to WBZ NewsRadio that out of 15 cats abandoned, nearly a dozen were recovered. Officials said that two of the cats did not survive, and another two were never found. The surviving cats are resting at the Berkshire Humane Society in Pittsfield, where they will be put up for adoption, officials said.
“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," said Director of the MSPCA's Law Enforcement department Tom Grenham.
The pair of owners, Kelly Hathaway and Arthur Raney, both of Pittsfield, were charged with 15 counts of felony animal cruelty on February 22 and were scheduled to be arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court on March 18, Grenham said.
“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 Executive Director of the BHS John Perreault.
The eleven surviving cats range in age, from five-months-old to five-years-old, and consist of seven males and four females, the MSPCA said. Officials said that the cats will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped before they're put into new homes.
According to officials, animal cruelty is a felony crime in Massachusetts and punishable by up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
The MSPCA said that interested adopters can view the cats here.