Group Of Abandoned Cats Causes Concern In Pritchett

Dozens of cats and several dogs are left abandoned to fend for themselves after their owner's death. Their home is in the community of Pritchett, in Upshur County, about 10 miles southwest of Gilmer. The animals' owner committed suicide in late September. Since then, some of her animals died of neglect. Many are struggling to stay alive. KLTV 7 investigated what's being done for the animals now.

"From what I've heard and seen pictures to the effect of, is there are several dead animals in the house," says Sharon Jackson, who's been helping take care of the cats. Sharon says pictures of dead cats were taken by someone who went inside the home, looking for surviving animals. The person also took a picture of two dead dogs.

"There's a dead dog in the backyard, dead geese, a mallard duck that's running around, a rabbit," said Jackson. "We don't have Animal Control in Upshur County. We don't have anyone to come and get them."

KLTV 7 news contacted the Gregg County Humane Society, which recently signed a contract with Upshur County. An official with the Humane Society told us, they're ready to take the animals in, but the cats have to be transported to the shelter. The Humane Society says that responsibility falls on the Upshur County Sheriff's Department.

An official with the sheriff's department, who declined to go on camera, said unless the animals are being abused, transporting them is not their responsibility.

Sharon says the situation is frustrating. "I just want someone to help with the remaining animals. I'm not just trying to place blame on somebody," said Jackson.

Neighbors, such as Doris Thomas, who owns a restaurant next door to the home, have been taking care of the animals. Doris says she feeds them three times a day and is spending up to $30 a week on cat food. "Everyone feels sorry for the cats," said Jackson.

Many of these cats are pregnant. Sharon hopes someone will step up and save these helpless animals.

We spoke with the deceased woman's son, who told us Upshur County officials have contacted him to transport the cats out of the home. He says he does not have the means to get them out of there.

If you'd like to help, contact the Gregg County Humane Society.

Oralia Ortega reporting,