Cat abandonment a problem in Danville

DAHS says problem has persisted for 15 years; at least 30 cats dumped Monday

DANVILLE, Va. – On Tuesday afternoon, a cat could be seen walking around the makeshift shelters behind a business near the intersection of Riverside Drive and Piney Forest Road.

The cat could be one of at least 30 Danville Area Humane Society executive director Paulette Dean said a city employee witnessed being abandoned there Monday.

"(He) said that he saw a car pull up, open the door and at least 30 cats came out," Dean said.

This has been an ongoing issue for 15 years, Dean said, and she estimated there could be as many as 100 cats living in the shelters.

"Animal control is setting traps and we have offered our help. We have a lot of traps ourselves and we're loaning them to the police department," said Dean.

If the cats are caught, the humane society then has to take care of them, which can be burdensome.

Dean said, however, that the need outweighs the burden.

"There's such a great emotional burden knowing that there are so many cats out there suffering," she explained. 

The city's animal control department is part of the police department.

The animal control officer declined to speak to the media Tuesday, so 10 News asked the police department's spokesperson, Lt. Mike Wallace, why the shelters hadn't been removed in an effort to deter people from dumping cats there. 

"This is the first time I was aware of the little structures that are back there. It's certainly something we could do," Wallace said.

What will be done with the shelters, if anything, remains to be seen.

Robby Cheek works at Big Shots Guns at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Piney Forest Road and is worried the dumping of cats Monday could have what he calls a ripple effect.

"Spreading disease, also vehicles right here on Riverside, trying to avoid hitting one and causing damage to other vehicles or possibly the front of the businesses," Cheek said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, a $1,500 reward was being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whoever dumped the cats.