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
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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.

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?


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