Parkersburg woman wins Governor's Service Award for "Save a Kitty" program

PARKERSBURG W.Va (WTAP) - A Parkersburg woman has dedicated over a decade to caring for stray cats around the Mid-Ohio Valley through the Save a Kitty Feral Cat Program.

“We are a TNR program, which is trap, neuter, return for community cats. That includes feral cat and free roaming cats. What we do is actually help residents in the area that are feeding these stray cats; we offer a program that actually spays and neuters and vaccinates the cats,” elaborates Kandi Haybeb, the founder of the program.

Her passion for volunteering to help the strays started over 14 years ago.

“My husband and I were having dinner and we left the restaurant and I noticed a cat getting out of the dumpster with food in her mouth. So of course we ran to the store and got some cat food for her and when I got back she had 3 little kittens so it just really tugged at my heartstrings that she was struggling and I started checking around the community and there were thousands of cats living outdoors like that trying to survive,” she says.

Through her work, she and her team of caretakers have helped over 6,700 cats receive treatment. She says that she is able to work locally to get the cats fixed in a safe and humane way.

“We actually have several vets that work with us and we also utilize the Spot Clinic at the Humane Society of Parkersburg. I also bring a surgery mobile from Dublin Ohio that does high volume, low cost spay neuter and we’ll schedule 45, 50 cats at one time and actually fix them all in one day.”

Haybeb received the Governor’s Service Award in the adult category at the State Capitol for her hard work and dedication with her program.

“I was elated. The award is a lot of recognition for Save a Kitty throughout the entire state and I really appreciate that but the award should have gone to all of us because my group is amazing and they are as dedicated as I am,” explains Haybeb.

Save a Kitty holds different fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for food and other resources to help the cats.

Their next fundraiser is a food drive scheduled for September 22 at Pet Supply Plus.

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