The Allegany County Animal Shelter seized nearly 100 cats from a local animal rescue last week – and now, criminal charges have been filed against the owner.
The cats survived what animal control officers are calling “deplorable” conditions. All 97 of them are being kept at the shelter, while veterinarians evaluate them and determine their conditions.
For now, they’re being kept in separate cages to reduce the spread of any illnesses.
“It’s added a tremendous burden to the shelter, in terms of resources and the strain on the staff and volunteers who care for the animals,” said Tina Rafferty, executive director of the Allegany County Animal Shelter.
“These always put us in a crisis mode,” said Becky McClarran, president of the Allegany County Animal Shelter Foundation. “It’s not something we can budget for, but they happen and we deal with it.”
Animal neglect charges have been filed against Michelle Ingrodi, operator of Charm City Animal Rescue. Authorities said 13 cats were seized from her Frostburg home, while 84 cats were taken from an adoption center on Naves Cross Road.
WHAG has not received an answer to requests for comment.
“It’s better to have 97 accounted for, then to have to end up burying 97 because they were left in deplorable conditions,” said John Carden, animal control officer in Allegany County.
This isn’t the first time, either. In 2014, 35 cats were taken from Charm City Animal Rescue’s location in Baltimore, because of unsanitary living conditions. Now, authorities hope something can be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“Animal neglect is real, animal cruelty is real,” Carden added. “As far as Allegany County, we’re not going to tolerate it – and we’re going to continue to do what we do.”
The Allegany County Animal Shelter is asking for monetary donations for veterinary care – plus donations of dry and wet cat food, cleaning supplies, blankets and towels. Items may be dropped off at the shelter, located at 716 Furnace Street in Cumberland, or at Barkin’ Basement Thrift Shop, Virginia Avenue Liquors and Coney Pizza in Lonaconing.
Monetary donations may be made online here.