After 15 Cats Found Cold and Freezing before Storm, Organization Collaborates with Lanesborough and State Police to Seek Justice
Berkshire Humane Society Caring for 11 Lucky Survivors
BOSTON and Pittsfield, Mass., March 2, 2022 – Eleven cats abandoned amidst-freezing temperatures and a winter storm emergency in late January are lucky to be alive thanks to the nonstop care provided by staff at Berkshire Humane Society.
Now, following a joint investigation involving the MSPCA and the Lanesborough and Massachusetts State Police departments, the quest to bring justice to those who abandoned 15 cats—two of whom did not survive—in two separate Berkshire county locations on Jan. 28, has taken a leap forward with the filing of 15 felony animal cruelty charges against the pair responsible. [Kelly Hathaway and Arthur Raney of Pittsfield]
The MSPCA’s Law Enforcement team filed the charges in Central Berkshire District Court on Feb. 22 and those charged are scheduled to be arraigned on March 18.
“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 a felony crime in Massachusetts, punishable by up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Berkshire Humane Society Providing Nonstop Care to the Survivors
The surviving cats bunking down at Berkshire Humane Society are, according to officials, coming out of their shell and doing well despite their ordeal.
“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 cats range in age from five months to five years in age. There are seven males and four females. All of the cats will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped before they are placed into new homes
“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.
Perreault expressed gratitude for all of those who helped. “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,” he said.
According to Perreault, several adoption inquiries have poured in since the cats’ plight went public, all but ensuring the shelter’s ability to place them with adopters who will provide the safe and loving homes they deserve. Would-be adopters can see cats available for adoption at https://berkshirehumane.org/adopt/cats/ or contact Berkshire Humane Society’s cat room at 413-447-7878, extension 124.
Rob Halpin, MSPCA