Code Red: Feral cat controversy in Smithfield, Pennsylvania leaves cats without shelter

A huge feral cat controversy is taking place in Smithfield, Pennsylvania. This could lead to criminal charges against a group that has been helping the cats for over ten years as well as against the leader of the business park where the cats live who has had the cat shelters destroyed.

feral cats eating
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Around 50 cats are living in the business park managed by Fay-Penn Economic Development Council. Many of the feral cats showed up while Action News4 was at the park to interview colony caregiver Margaret Whyel.

“Our numbers have decreased this summer and that is the result of TNR. You stop the population growth and nature takes its course. We were notified by state police that we had one week to stop feeding and then remove the shelters.”

The group of volunteers was given a week to figure out a plan for the cats but the shelters have already been destroyed and the volunteers have been ordered to stay away from the business park. They were still feeding the cats as of Friday night. The volunteers pay for all that’s needed to care for the cats, including vet bills.

The Fayette County Humane Officer Robin Gaydos says it’s possible the leadership of the business park who allegedly destroyed the well-built shelter could face charges of animal cruelty.

shelters destroyed

When reporter Beau Berman asked whether Margaret believed the cats would freeze to death or starve, Margaret commented: “probably both.”

Bob Shark is the executive director of the Fay-Penn Economic Development Council who runs the business park. He declined an interview with WTAE but did respond to an email saying “I cannot comment on pending legal action that Fay-Penn is taking.”

Smithfield is a borough in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population in 2017 was 1,455

Follow Elisa on Facebook and Instagram. A video showing the cats and the business park can be found here.

Click here for Smithfield Borough offices (closed on Mondays). Robin Gaydos can be reached at 412.720.9477  or  412.233.5428. Fay-Penn has a Facebook page where feral cat lovers are being very vocal.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

14 thoughts on “Code Red: Feral cat controversy in Smithfield, Pennsylvania leaves cats without shelter”

  1. I just remembered that this is an area I was looking to move to. If I do I’ll remember that help for cats is needed there (which is one thing I want to be involved in).

  2. Some of the worst people use non-profit or charities as front to criminal enterprizes. Being the actions they took against these defenseless animals and the kind workers is immoral if not criminal, I hope they are investigated. They should be, and charged and convicted of any and all crimes they’re committing. Meanwhile, how can we help the cats?

  3. If I understand this right they were given a week but before the week was out the cats homes were destroyed? Well doesn’t that kinda go against the court order? Not to mention rather Scrooge-ish.

    1. I had to move a colony this year and was given a week which turned into 3 weeks. Any business with a heart will accept some cats are hard to trap and this place has around 50. It’s not going to happen in just one week.

  4. This is unconscionable- who does this, without Fair warning? A Dastardly Move for a Non- Profit, as well!!! No regard for the caregivers who control the population at their own expense. I Know the debilitating Anguish they are experiencing and the feeling of helplessness is a perfect storm to extinguish any hope of a Normal Christmas for ANY of them- And Their Families! This is Cruel and unusual Punishment for all their Hard work & Good Deeds all year round. Where is their Humanity? Have They NONE??? I PRAY that they have one spark of Goodness, amongst them, that they will allow Good to prevail and allow the caregivers the time they need to get this resolved in a Humane Manner, without any loss of life!

  5. I just called that place and left a message asking them to tell Bob Shark that he needs to allow them cat caregivers a couple weeks to relocate the cats and make new shelters for them that he destroyed,I hate him.

  6. What a bunch of dicks! How can they do this to these babies in need. It’s not their fault they have no homes! I hope this bastard is charged and worse! I also hope these babies are saved and do not starve or freeze.

  7. The Fay Penn Economic Development is a non profit. They are not a government entity as most Economoc Develolment places are. I pulled their latest filed tax return based on non profit status, and they ended the year with 45 million in assets, 2.5 million in cash. They also just received a grant of some sort for 500k. I haven’t tracked down who awarded that yet, but I will.

    Any member of the general public is welcome to report their concerns, via email and do so anonymously. This goes against moral fiber and integrity that which a non profit is bound by.

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