New River Humane Society calling on public for help after taking in 75 cats from cruelty case

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – An animal abuse and cruelty case has put the New River Humane Society in an overwhelmed state as what they thought would be a 25-cat intake ended up bringing in 75 at once.

“It was definitely a shock to the system,” Board President Kathy Gerencer said. “Certainly sent a couple of board members, day-to-day helping operationally, sent us into panic mode because we knew that that was definitely a number that exceeded our capacity quite a bit.”

Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley says that based on the initial investigation there were 25 cats reported at the house of Nicolle and Christopher Knotts down in the Valley.

They were arrested and charged last week for 25 counts each of animal cruelty because of the number of cats and their “deplorable” living conditions.

When animal control went to pick up the 25, they discovered 75.

“What this does is when we take this amount of animals into custody it puts a burden on our local animal shelter,” Sheriff Fridley said. “But you know, you can’t leave these animals in a house with people that have been charged with animal abuse and animal neglect.”

On Thursday and Friday, employees and volunteers worked to do the intake for the 75 cats with several needing medical attention and all needing the full intake services.

Space is also becoming a problem as multiple cats have to double even triple up in one cage.

“It’s heartbreaking. It really is,” Operations Manager Shantel Persinger said. “You know, we come in here every day and do our hardest to give them the best that we can, and it really helps when the community helps us to help them. And it’s heartbreaking to see them come in the conditions they do because not all of them are healthy.”

The shelter has not had to euthanize for space in years which is why they are calling on the public to help, so it is not their only option.

Those at the shelter desperately need people to adopt or foster these animals, but they are also in need of cat food, cat litter and monetary donations.

You can drop off supplies at the shelter located at 513 Shelter Road in Fayetteville or at their two drop-off locations at Tractor Supply in Oak Hill or the Oak Hill Animal Hospital.

If you wish to make a monetary donation, you can call it in at (304) 574-3682 or donate through Facebook on their Facebook page where you will also find their PayPal.

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.