Owner charged after 12 cats found in car in 100-degree heat

Three cats are dead and seven are alive after good Samaritans found the pets in a hot car in a West Virginia parking lot.

WSAZ reported that animal control in Huntington, West Virginia, was called to the parking lot after citizens saw the cats trapped in the car Tuesday. The temperature inside the car was over 100 degrees.

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Jon Rutherford, an animal control officer with the Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter, told The Herald-Dispatch that two adult cats and a kitten who was a few weeks old were found dead. Two cats escaped as citizens unlocked the car to cool it down before Rutherford arrived, the publication reported.

According to Rutherford, there was mold and feces-covered cat food in the car and no water. He said the owner, a woman, had been living in the car with the cats for about a week, driving them from place to place.

"The smell was horrendous," he told the newspaper.

The woman was cited for 12 counts of animal cruelty. She avoided a torture charge because she had food in the car, Rutherford said.

The seven surviving cats are at Huntington Cabell Wayne Animal Shelter.

The woman is due in court later this month.

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