Northern Berkshire County Animal Rescue is caring for 13 cats with severe medical issues that were taken from a home in Savoy.
SAVOY, Mass. — A local man is facing multiple charges after 31 cats were removed from his property on Friday.
Carrie Loholdt, animal control officer for North Adams and Savoy, confirmed that charges will be filed in the next couple weeks. She declined to name the person or discuss the conditions under which the animals were found pending her completed report.
The cats, however, are in poor medical condition and will need extensive treatment.
"The one good thing is I also do animal rescue so I kind of know what I need to do," Loholdt said on Tuesday. The key element was that the individual agreed to surrender the cats. "Because they surrendered them to me, we can adopt them out and take them to shelters to be adopted."
Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society took 18 of the cats in the best condition and Northern Berkshire County Animal Rescue, of which Loholdt is a founder, took 13.
Loholdt and animal rescue volunteer Kaila Drosehn took the cats immediately to Dr. Keith F. Beebe at Wahconah Veterinary Hospital in Hinsdale. They are currently being taken care of by the rescue group.
"All had upper respiratory infections, some had secondary eye infections," said Drosehn. "They all have ear mites and the majority of them have really severe ear infections."
The cats, about half of them kittens, are being kept away from other animals and people because upper respiratory infections are highly contagious. They are being bathed and treated, and their areas being disinfected three times a day to prevent spread.
Several of the cats have eyes so seriously infected that they will have to be removed; Drosehn said some of them have ears so infected she's not sure they can hear.
"There is another one that we are watching because he has it pretty bad in both eyes," she said. "He's going to be on an extended antibiotic treatment but he may lose his sight because of that."
None of the cats will be available for adoption until their medical issues are resolved and they are spayed or neutered. The cats taken to Dakin are also being treated but are expected to be in better health in a shorter time.
Drosehn said the group has worked with Dakin in the past and has a good relationship with the organization, and it also has heavier traffic for potential adopters being in the Springfield area.
"We knew they would find homes very quickly because they have their own spay and neuter clinic," she said. "If they find it takes too long [to adopt out] they will call us we can take the dog or cat back."
The kittens range in age from about 9 weeks to 6 months; the older cats between 1 and 4 or 5 years.
There are also nine feral cats on the property. Loholdt said the group is working with Animal DREAMS to trap them so they can be neutered and prevent the colony from growing. But once trapped, the cats may end up the responsibility of the rescue group.
The aftermath of a rescue of this size is straining the group's abilities; it also took 31 dogs from a breeder in North Adams last fall and the last mother and pups are still being cared for until they go to new homes.
The rescue group is seeking donations to defray medical costs for the cats.
"Savoy, they don't have a kitty [for care] like some other towns can have," said Loholdt.
And going into situations like this, it's not always a given that veterinarians or other shelters are in a position to help.
"Dr. Beebe at Wahconah Vet ... that man is a saint. He and his staff," said Loholdt.
But the cost of surgeries and medical care is expected to be significant.
A spaghetti supper fundraiser is being planned for Tuesday, March 4, at Izzy's Pizza and Diner on Park Street in Adams from 5 to 9; cost is $9 for adults, $7 for kids, takeout available. Local businesses are also donating items for a chinese auction.
Drosehn said the rescue group is in dire need of supplies including clumping cat litter, Clorox wipes, bleach, paper towels, canned cat food and kitten food, dishes, toys and especially monetary donations.
Items can be dropped off at Bark 'N Cat on Holden Street in North Adams and donations made through Paypal on the group's website or by check to Northern Berkshire County Animal Rescue, PO Box 611, Adams, MA 01220. Donations are tax-deductable.