Cat breeder Jennifer Winsper, 48, of Edgartown is being charged with two counts of animal cruelty by the Animal Rescue League of Boston after Animal Rescue workers removed 65 cats and kittens from a large shed at an Edgartown home on Wednesday.
The charges come after Animal Rescue, along with the Edgartown Police and Animal Control, and Massachusetts Department of Agriculture Resources (MDAR) personnel, executed a search warrant at a home on Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road.
All cats were transferred to Animal Rescue for veterinary care facilities, and will likely need “weeks of treatment,” according to a press release from Animal Rescue. The cats were transported via Animal Rescue’s Transport Waggin, a mobile unit used to move animals.
Speaking to The Times by phone Thursday, Animal Rescue Sgt. Paul Parlon said the rescue was difficult, due to conditions inside the shed.
“The conditions inside were pretty deplorable,” Parlon said. “The high heat levels for us to take them out were pretty intense … the movement inside was pretty restrictive because of debris and whatnot.”
Animal Rescue inspected the property in 2019, following complaints about sick cats being sold off-Island. In June, a similar complaint was filed with Edgartown Animal Control.
“Edgartown Animal Control Officer Betsy Buck and MDAR personnel inspected the property following the complaint, and determined the conditions were detrimental and dangerous for the animals,” according to the release.
Animal Rescue law enforcement was then granted a search warrant for the home to take custody of the cats.
“We are very appreciative of the strong partnership we have with the Animal Rescue League of Boston,” Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee said in the release. “Their resources and expertise are invaluable to a small police department, especially one out here on Martha’s Vineyard, in cases like these.”