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Speedy and Psych are 1-year-old females looking for a home. The Berkshire Humane Society says it's overflowing with cats and kittens.
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Only one kitten, Sagittarius, a male, out of this litter of 12 is not on hold or adopted.
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Percy is only a year old.
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Garfield, another ginger, is 2.

Berkshire Humane Society Overloaded With Cats

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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One-year-old Domino is up for adoption. The shelter is reducing its adoption fees for cats 7 months and older by half to thin out its clowder.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Have you been considering welcoming a feline friend into your life? Now may be a good time.

The Berkshire Humane Society is overloaded with cats and kittens due to decreased spay-neuter surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shelter currently has a wait list for cat surrenders and is discounting adoption fees for adult cats 7 months and older by 50 percent for the rest of the month.

Executive Director John Perreault said pet ownership boomed during the pandemic but during that time, the veterinary community got smaller with some vets leaving the profession and fewer entering it.

He clarified that the overcrowding has nothing to do with COVID-19 adoption returns.

"During COVID, spay-neuters were not essential surgeries ... There are millions of surgeries that didn't happen, and now it is getting more and more difficult to find a veterinarian if you didn't have one," Perreault said.

"They're all heroes, our veterinarians, they just do such great work but at the end of the day, there are only 24 hours in a day and they can only do so much."

Because neuter and spay surgeries are harder to come by, this also increases the felines' stay at the shelter while they are waiting for surgery before they go to a forever home.

Earlier this week, the shelter received a group of 21 cats that started out as one pregnant female last December.

"We've got cats everywhere, we've got a lot in foster homes, we've had a lot in foster homes, we've fostered cats with kittens that were too young and now they're old enough so we're having some of those come back too because they're ready to be adopted," Perreault explained, adding that probably for the first time he could say that this is "definitely the result of COVID."

This is not specific to Berkshire County and is a national problem.  

A study by the University of Florida's shelter medicine program found almost 3 million missing neuter and spay surgeries in the United States due to the pandemic and reported that this, combined with veterinarian and staff shortages, is contributing to widespread overcrowding at pet shelters.

Adopting and fostering are the biggest help but having patience is also helpful. 

"If there's somebody out there that needs to surrender their cat today, and we had to say, 'we have no space,' just to have some patience, work with us," Perreault said when asked what the community can do.

"Ultimately, the goal is to find that pet its forever home, which if it's a nice adoptable cat, we can certainly do that, we just need to work together as a team to make that happen, which may mean hanging on to that cat for maybe a few extra weeks before it comes into the building."

He urged residents with issues, concerns, or questions to call the shelter to see if they can help before the problem gets to the point of pet surrender.

BHS is still trying to do as many surgeries as it can and is hosting vaccination clinics in the community, including a rabies clinic on Oct. 29 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Haddad Subaru.

Cat surrenders typically increase in August, September, and October.  

Perreault said from his experience he has observed that cats breed by season in the Northeast and go out of season from around Christmas time until spring. When they are back in season, they have kittens and the ones who cannot find homes stay with the family throughout the summer and when school returns, there is an uptick in surrenders, he said.

Tags: animal shelter,   Berkshire Humane Society,   cats,   

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Pascual-Polanco Brothers Sentenced to Life for 2019 Homicide

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Chiry Omar Pascual-Polanco and Carlos Pascual-Polanco on Thursday were given life sentences without possibility for parole for the murder of 18-year-old Jaden Salois in 2019.

The brothers lured Salois, of Dalton, outside a Pittsfield home for a false drug deal and shot him in the back in the early morning hours on Jan. 20, 2019. Prosecutors say the killing was over allegations of stolen marijuana. 
During the sentencing at Berkshire Superior Court, several of Salios' family members gave impact statements that detailed his kind disposition and hopes for the future. They said it was unfair for him to be robbed of it.

"A piece of me is gone that will never be replaced," his mother Megan Bernardini wrote.

"Over the past 3 1/2 years, me and my family have experienced endless sleepless nights and have had never-ending thoughts of why this happened to Jaden and why this happened to us," his cousin Brianna Crucitti said. "We still don't know why it happened to him or why it happened to us."

Family members of Chiry Omar, 26, and Carlos, 22, called the verdict is an injustice, arguing that there was not sufficient provable evidence and that the brothers are innocent.  

They did not speak at the sentencing but offered statements to iBerkshires afterward.

Sister Marisela Pascual knew that she and her brothers had "no fighting chance" for their lives in this community and said it is clear that they didn’t commit the crime.

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