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Man surrenders 125 cats to Roane shelter

Lawrence Pierce
More than 125 cats were given up to the Roane County Animal Shelter on Monday. All had previously belonged to one Roane County man.
Lawrence Pierce The Roane County Animal Shelter is trying to accommodate 125 cats that were given to them on Monday by a Roane County man.
Lawrence Pierce Grace Drake, 9, holds one of the 125 cats given to the Roane County Animal Shelter on Monday. The cats belonged to a Roane County man who wished to remain anonymous.
Lawrence Pierce Susan Lyons, a staff member at the Roane County Animal Shelter, welcomed donations of cat food and supplies Tuesday. Local businesses and community members came out to help those at the shelter care for 125 cats they took in Monday.
Lawrence Pierce More than 125 cats were given up to the Roane County Animal Shelter on Monday. All had previously belonged to one Roane County man.

SPENCER, W.Va. -- Roane County Animal Shelter officials are currently assessing what to do with 125 cats they received from an area man on Monday.

All of the cats came from one Roane County household and are mostly healthy and trained to use a litter box, according to Sandy Bush, the shelter's manager.

"It was someone who had their heart in the right place, and it got out of hand and they reached out to us for help," Bush said of the previous owner, who wished to remain anonymous. "The cats were very well taken care of."

About 100 of the cats are being housed in steel cages -- with two to four cats per cage, while about 20 kittens have been quarantined in a separate room due to upper respiratory infections.

"We don't have enough room, but we're trying to manage. Right now, we are focusing on adopting and rescuing as many as we can. Most of the cats are very friendly, but they're scared. They're not used to this," Bush said. "It's going to be hard until we get some extra cages and some more help."

Although the shelter had to euthanize 91 cats in May, that most likely will not happen to those cats the man had sent to the shelter Monday, according to shelter staff member Susan Lyons.

"About 90 percent of euthanized cats are feral, meaning they have been living in the wild and are not adoptable. For the most part, these cats are healthy and have the potential to find a loving home," she said. "We are one of the few places that even offers adoptions for cats."

The shelter is working with multiple rescue agencies in and out of the state that are willing to take some of the cats, and they've already received more than $400 in donations from locals.

Help for Animals Inc. in Barboursville has offered to pay for up to 50 of the cats to be spayed and neutered.

"The response from the public has been overwhelming. The phone has been ringing off the hook all day and people have been coming in donating food, litter and cleaning supplies. We are very pleasantly surprised," Lyons said.

When Carolyn Wilson of Spencer heard the news, she decided she wasn't only going to do her part, but push others to help, too. She collected a total of $200 from local businesses on Tuesday to benefit the shelter.

"I love animals. I wanted to help the best I could," she said. "It was just something I felt like I should do."

Lyons said adoptions could begin as soon as assessments are finished, which will take a few days.

Photos of adoptable cats will be posted to the Roane County Animal Shelter's Facebook page as soon as evaluations are finished.

For more information, call 304-927-2555.

Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.mays@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.


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