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More than a dozen cats were abandoned on back roads a year ago. The woman who owned them has pleaded guilty to counts of animal cruelty.

Owner of Abandoned Cats Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A woman accused of abandoning more than a dozen cats during snowstorm a year ago has pleaded guilty. 
Kelly Hathaway of Pittsfield pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of animal cruelty in Central Berkshire District Court as part of a plea agreement. Following the plea agreement, she was ordered to have a mental health evaluation and follow any after care as instructed by the court.
She was placed on two years probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. She is not allowed to possess any animals and was ordered to surrender any she has in her care. She is also prohibited from volunteering with any animal groups.
Hathaway and another defendant were charged last March with abandoning 15 cats on back roads in Richmond and Lanesborough after an investigation by Lanesborough Police, Lanesborough Animal Control and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Two of the cats died, possibly from exposure, and another was never found. Temperatures ranged from about minus-6 to 28 degrees on the weekend of Jan. 28 and the cats found in Richmond were undernourished and dehydrated.
According to the police report, Hathaway said her landlord had told her to remove the animals because of the smell. 
The cats were discovered by a motorist on Jan. 31  and he, animal control, volunteers and the Berkshire Humane Society worked to get the cats to safety. They were later adopted out by the Humane Society.
The animal cruelty charges could have meant fines of up to $5,000 and time in jail or prison.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Aleah Fisher and Megan Rose.
The Berkshire District Attorney's Office thanked the agencies involved for the assistance in the investigation, including the State Police.
"We are very pleased that we can bring this case to a resolution. MSPCA was very pleased with the outcome as we took into consideration the defendant's intellectual disability and willingness to accept responsibility," said Rose. "Thank you to the Berkshire Humane Society for their assistance with finding homes for the abandoned animals."

Tags: animal abuse,   animal cruelty,   cats,   

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Construction Grant Changes No Longer Align with Berkshire Atheneum's Goals

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass — The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has adjusted this round of its construction grant program, no longer aligning with the Berkshire Athenaeum's goals. 
This grant round is really no longer a renovation program, library Director Alex Reczkowski said during a trustees meeting last week.
Interested applicants need at least two locations that they would be interested in pursuing as possible libraries or locations, not just the current library, he said. Acceptance of the award is once every 30 years. 
Although the library has some physical upgrades to the building in its strategic plan, it does not have enough data for a bigger project than that, Reczkowski said. 
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