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Alleged abuse of kitten triggers Fayette cruelty charge

August 3, 2018

This injured kitten lay paralyzed in weeds near a Fayette County trailer park before succumbing July 29, 2018, at an animal hospital in Morgantown, W.Va.

A Fayette County man is charged with cruelty to animals for allegedly attempting to destroy a kitten that later lay paralyzed for hours before it perished in surgery.

State police filed the third-degree felony charge against Ronald Edward Manchas Jr., 45, of Smithfield, after receiving a complaint Sunday from an animal rescue group that attempted to save the kitten.

Manchas, who handles maintenance at Jarrett’s Trailer Court in Georges Township, told police a resident there reported the kitten had been struck by a car and was crawling near a road, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.

Manchas said he “picked up the kitten, took it into a nearby field, wrung its neck and tossed it into the weeds,” noting that he “likes to keep things clean,” police said.

The kitten lay paralyzed in the weeds for about 16 hours before the animal rescue group intervened and rendered aid, police said.

According to court records, Manchas was arraigned Sunday before District Judge Jennifer Jeffries and was placed in the Fayette County Prison after failing to post $15,000 bail.

Jennifer Grippo of the Acme-based Cat Rangers Rescue Group told the Tribune-Review she got a report about the paralyzed kitten late Friday, but the injured animal couldn’t be found then in the area around the trailer park. Later Facebook conversations about the cat and help from a local resident guided group volunteer Gretchen Belan to the weeds to find the animal, which she rushed to the Cheat Lake Animal Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., Grippo said.

The kitten, Belan said, “was in really bad shape from trying to drag itself around” and had maggots covering its hind end.

According to a report from the animal hospital, provided by Grippo, the kitten was hypothermic and thin, weighing less than 2 pounds. An x-ray revealed the kitten had a buckshot pellet lodged over its spine, which likely was the cause of its mobility problems, the report noted.

The kitten died while undergoing treatment. “She just was too sick. Her body couldn’t recover,” Belan said.

The group members returned to the trailer park and removed nearly a dozen other unclaimed cats, including seven young kittens, that they hope can find homes through Animal Friends of Pittsburgh, Grippo said . “I didn’t want any more to get shot,” she said of the cats.

“I’m glad the police came and helped,” Belan said of the felony charge filed in the case. “We’ve got to show that this isn’t an OK behavior. Somebody has got to speak up for these animals.”

Unwanted cats are a widespread problem in the area, Grippo said. She said she’s searching for funds so that her rescue group can set up a cat adoption center and offer spay and neuter services for the felines.

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