A Delbarton woman was arrested earlier this week on alleged animal cruelty charges after police and animal rescue workers said they found dozens of starving and sick cats in an abandoned and dilapidated house owned by the woman.
According to MCSD Sheriff Joe Smith, Sgt. Phillip Muncy and Deputy Jeremy Casey were informed by the county’s humane officer on Friday, Feb. 5, that there were dozens of uncared for cats—some of which were dead and being eaten by the other cats—located at an old dilapidated house in Delbarton owned by Glenna Adair, 75.
Smith said there were 106 cats altogether, with many of those in cages without any sources of food and water.
Smith said Adair lived in the house at one time and cared for as many as 30 cats during that period.
Sometime back, however, Adair abandoned the cats when she moved out of the house into a trailer and became the caretaker for her two sisters.
Smith said the sheriff’s office received information over the weekend that a brother in Ohio came to Delbarton and got one of the sisters and that the other one had been taken to a hospital.
Deputy T. J. Justice, who along with Cpl. Roger Fitch also investigated, credited two animal rescue groups—Pitiful Paws Rescue in Chesapeake, Ohio, and the Kentucky chapter of Guardians of the Rescue—for coming to Mingo County to intervene.
“These groups came on Saturday and removed and rescued 59 of the cats,” Justice said. “They then set traps to catch about 30 more that were hiding in the walls, and they got those on Sunday. “They just did a tremendous job getting and saving these cats. All of them are to be commended for what they did because these animals would all have died if they hadn’t intervened.”
Smith said the sheriff’s office in the interim has been receiving negative comments on social media from people expressing their opposition to Adair’s arrest.
Although he understands the adverse sentiment, because this was a case of animal cruelty, Smith said it was also the responsibility of the sheriff’s office to enforce the law.
“I understand people’s feelings when something like this occurs, and we’re certainly not saying she should go to jail … that she maybe doesn’t need psychiatric help instead,” he said. “In fact, because there wasn’t a magistrate available Sunday we waited until Monday to arrest her so she could be PR’d out (released on personal recognizance) and not have to spend a night in jail. But the bottom line is we’re obviously not qualified nor is it our responsibility to determine her mental state; it’s up to her lawyer, the prosecutor and the court to decide that.”
Smith said the investigation also revealed that there were several people in the area who were aware of the situation but failed to report it.
“The first time we learned about this was last Friday … had we known sooner we could have intervened quicker before it got this bad,” he said. “If people know about these kinds of situations they need to contact us immediately so something can be done sooner.”
Adair was arraigned by Magistrate Jim Harvey and formally charged with cruelty to animals.
She was later released from custody after posting 10 percent of a $300 cash bond.