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The Berkshire Humane Society is treating a dozen cats that were dumped in Richmond and Lanesborough over the weekend. A reward has been issued to find the person responsible.
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The cats are said not to be in the best condition.

Humane Society Takes in Dozen Abandoned Cats, Sets Reward

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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The 'roadblock of cats' Joshua Christman saw on Richmond Shores Road on Friday from his Facebook feed. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than a dozen cats were dumped on back roads over the weekend as a storm was about to drop up to 6 inches of snow and temperatures were predicted to plummet.

Good Samaritan Joshua Christman said he was visiting Richmond Pond with his daughter to look at the wildlife late Friday when they encountered what he called a "roadblock of cats."

He went to social media — Facebook Live — to ask for help for the 10 cats on Richmond Shores Road and immediately got the attention of Berkshire Humane Society affiliates. The video went kind of viral, he said, generating about 3,000 views.

"Those guys did a tremendous job," he said on Monday. "They set the traps, I helped them monitor them, but they did some hard work there and put the traps out, so credit goes to them."

Christman said on his Facebook Live that the cats didn't stand a chance in the wooded area. They were cold and climbed up into his wheel well when he stopped. 

On Saturday morning, the shelter received a call from the Lanesborough animal control officer, who located six cats. 

There are now dozen felines currently at BHS after being found in groups in Richmond on Friday and in Lanesborough on Saturday. There are still two cats believed to be in Richmond and one in Lanesborough. Another was taken into a home. A total of 16 cats were identified.

The Humane Society is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the persons involved with the incidents over the weekend.

Executive Director John Perreault said he is quite certain the animals were dumped in Richmond because of testimony from his staff, the cats' state of fear, and their urge to stay in the same area.

"The people that went from the Berkshire Humane Society and Animal Dreams are very experienced, and there's just no way that they were not dumped," he said.

The shelter had responded quickly on Friday and Christman later helped to capture seven of the 10 cats. Another cat was rescued on Saturday.

Stacey Carver of Animal Dreams, who also responded, agreed with Perrault that these were not neighborhood cats.

"They really hung around that one area for a long period of time, nervous of people, but people that live in that community and that close-knit Richmond Pond area, they would have known this, so this was something that definitely — and I'm very careful about stating something I don't know 100 percent truth about — but I feel pretty confident sitting in my chair today that those 10 cats were put there by someone who then drove away and left them like that," she said. 

The cats range in age from about 6 months to about 7 years. They were not in the best condition and are currently receiving proper care.

"I can not fathom why anyone would dump 6 young cats and a handful of cat food in the woods in the middle of the coldest part of winter with a storm on the way," wrote Lanesborough Animal Control on the department's Facebook page. Anyone with information on those cats is asked to call the animal control officer at 413-443-4107.

They will soon see a veterinarian for a medical exam before they are put up for adoption.

Perreault finds this situation especially disturbing because of the frigid temperatures over the weekend and the incoming snowstorm. He said that not only is animal abandonment illegal, but there are shelters and rescue groups that would be willing to take them in.

Pittsfield has two shelters: BHS and the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter.

"I think the frustrating thing for most people is that there are shelters and rescue groups that would be more than happy to take them," he said. "You don't have to do this, and then you have to ask yourself if they did it, why did you do it on a day where there was a major potential impact of a huge storm like that coming with sub-zero temperatures?"

On Monday, the shelter decided to offer a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the identification and conviction of the perpetrators.

Events like this are entirely disheartening for the shelter and Perreault commended the community for its response and continuous efforts.  

"It was a very, very sad day and I compliment all the people that came out to help whether you're a neighbor, whether you're just a volunteer that saw it on social media, my staff, the volunteers that work with my staff," he said.

Volunteers were out in frigid conditions trying to trap the cats and not retrieving all of them has weighed heavily on the animal lovers. Folks in the Richmond Pond area are being asked to keep an eye out for the remaining cats and reporting sightings.

To support animals like these cats, monetary donations are always appreciated. Perreault said supplies can also be donated to the shelter's pet food bank or to the Ken Freeberg Fund for medical expenses.

He urged the public to come forward with any information pertaining to the situation. The shelter can be reached at 413-447-7878.

Tags: animal abuse,   cats,   

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By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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This month, he will share that spirit of community on the sport's biggest stage.
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