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Animal Rescue League will find homes for 65 cats rescued on Martha’s Vineyard

More than 65 cats were taken into the Animal Rescue League's possession this week after they were rescued from a breeding facility in Martha's Vineyard in July.
More than 65 cats were taken into the Animal Rescue League's possession this week after they were rescued from a breeding facility in Martha's Vineyard in July.Animal Rescue League Boston

More than 65 cats — who were rescued from a Martha’s Vineyard private breeding facility in July 2020— were officially signed over to the Animal Rescue League this week, officials said.

The Rescue League is now able to “take steps” to find the cats full-time homes, Mike DeFina, a spokesman for the Animal Rescue League, said in a statement. Since their rescue in July, the cats have been living with foster families and received “extensive medical care,” totaling tens of thousands of dollars, the statement said.

On July 8, Animal Rescue League law enforcement, Edgartown police, animal control, and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources executed a search warrant of an Edgartown home and found the cats living in poor conditions. Conditions in the home included poor animal quality, an overwhelming odor of animal waste, and high heat, a prior statement from DeFina said.

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The cats were being kept in what officials described as "detrimental and dangerous conditions" prior to their rescue.
The cats were being kept in what officials described as "detrimental and dangerous conditions" prior to their rescue.Animal Rescue League Boston

The cat breeder, Jennifer Winsper, 48, was charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty in July and now faces five counts of the charge, DeFina said.

Her property had been inspected twice prior to the cats being removed, once by Animal Rescue League law enforcement, and once by Edgartown Animal Control and the Department of Agricultural Resources, the statement said.

The Rescue League was able to take possession of the cats as a result of 2017 legislation, the statement said. The legislation allowed the prosecuting agency to request a security bond from the accused to recuperate the costs of care. The accused can then cover the bond or forfeit the animals.

Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.