Community overrun with cats, shelter overwhelmed

Community overrun with cats, shelter overwhelmed

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A Chester cat rescue is getting new kittens and cats left at its front door on a daily basis due to a large cat colony nearby.

Lynne Layton, the owner and director of Smitty's Cat Rescue Shelter on Jeff Davis Highway, said many of the cats that are dumped at her business are sick and pregnant.

"It's never been the way it is now," Layton said.

The director of two-years, and volunteer before that, says a most of the cats come from the Greenleigh Mobile Home Park nearly a half-mile away.

"There are thousands of cats in Greenleigh," Layton said. "Over the years people have moved out and they just leave them, and they continue to breed."

Layton and homeowners in the community say the area has become overrun with the felines.

Chesterfield County spokeswoman Allie Gibson said the County is aware of the issue, and code enforcement is actively investigating.

In 2017 the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors enacted an ordinance limiting a person to up to six cats in a residential area.

"Most of the cats in their yard [in Greenleigh] just showed up there," Layton said. "They aren't necessarily really their cats, but if you feed them, they're your property."

What that means is it pushes homeowners past the six-cat limit.

"Every day I get 30, 40, 50 calls to come get them," Layton said.

In order to avoid eviction, Layton said people in the community have been dropping these cats off at her shelter.

"They walk with their crates, their carriers and they leave them on the property or they just open the doors and leave them outside," she said. "So every day we have somebody new."

It's Layton's mission to help as many of these cats as possible, but some of the cats aren't healthy at all, including 12 kittens who were recently brought to the shelter.

"They were brought here so sick that we could not get the eyes to heal," Layton said. "Some of their eyes have to be removed."

The care for the cats at the shelter and the new ones that arrive every day are taking a toll on the resources at the shelter, according to Layton.

"We just had a fundraiser and yard sale two weeks ago and we made over $1,400," she said. "That money is almost gone."

Layton is looking for any help possible, that includes fostering and adopting the healthy cats at her shelter.

According to Layton, the shelter continues to reach their capacity as they strive to help as much as possible.

NBC12 is working on this story and will have more at 5 and 6 p.m.

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