The rescue of four kittens left to fend for themselves in wet, cold weather has prompted RSPCA South Australia to again urge people with unwanted animals not to dump them.
RSPCA South Australia received a report at 5.40pm yesterday from a member of the public who had found the kittens contained inside two zip-locked plastic Woolworths shopping baskets. The makeshift cage was beside a bin near a children’s playground at Graham Watts Reserve, located off York Ave in Clovelly Park.
The two male and two female kittens are estimated to be about six weeks old. The RSPCA South Australia inspector who retrieved them reported that they were visibly very scared and distressed. The kittens had no food or water in the cage, and their bedding was damp.
Judging by how hungry and thirsty the kittens were, the inspector believes they had been in the cage for several hours. The temperature at the time was 13C and it was raining.
Chief Inspector Andrea Lewis described the kittens’ apparent abandonment as a callous act that caused the animals unnecessary suffering.
“There is never any excuse for just abandoning animals, and leaving them exposed to the weather,” Ms Lewis said.
“If someone has animals they can no longer keep or don’t want, then either find them a good home or surrender them to a reputable animal welfare organisation like RSPCA.
“These kittens could easily have not been found until today, by which time it’s highly probable they would have died from lack of food and water, and exposure – nights have been freezing cold and these are extremely vulnerable young animals.”
Abandoning an animal is an offence under South Australia’s Animal Welfare Act, and anyone found guilty can face up to 2 years imprisonment or a $20,000 fine.
Despite their ordeal, the kittens are all in good health and under the care of staff at RSPCA South Australia’s Lonsdale animal shelter. They are expected to be available to adopt in about two weeks’ time, after they have been desexed.
RSPCA South Australia urges people to desex their cats to prevent unwanted litters.
Under SA’s Dog and Cat Management Act, it is now a legal requirement to desex cats by six months of age, however RSPCA recommends cats be desexed earlier, from eight weeks onwards, as they are capable of becoming pregnant from four months.