THE DALLES, Ore. – Four young kittens were found abandoned in a sealed Rubbermaid container in 104-degree heat in The Dalles Monday.
The kittens were in a sealed container and their mother was in a crate on top, according to Jerilee Drynan, operations manager at the Home at Last Humane Society. A veterinarian who examined them said the animals maybe had another hour before they would have succumbed to the heat.
“They would have died a very slow, painful death trying to get out of there as it got hot and hotter,” Drynan said. “They would have died of the heat and deprivation of water.”
The animals were soaked in urine and thirsty, but otherwise alright.
A maintenance worker found them on the edge of the shelter’s parking lot; an area beyond the reach of the shelter’s surveillance cameras.
“I was relieved that my maintenance person, who normally doesn't work on Mondays, found them,” Drynan said.
Shelter workers were horrified someone was so reckless when all they needed to do was call for help.
“We could have got them on our waiting list,” Drynan said. “Or they could have called other shelters. We don’t euthanize cats.”
No one knows exactly how long the mom and her kittens had been there. Shelter workers said they are very affectionate and appear to be well-cared for. There was even a note attached to the mother cat's crate that listed their names and vaccination records. (See photo upper right.)
The kittens are about six weeks old – three girls and a boy. After getting vaccinated, spayed and neutered, they will all be put up for adoption by the end of August, along with their mom.
Drynan said this is one more example of why people should spay and neuter their pets as soon as possible, so they won’t have to struggle to find homes for unwanted offspring.
Abandoning animals is also a crime in Oregon, punishable with a fine and up to a year in jail.
Sadly, this isn't the only recent case of this kind under investigation. Just last month, five kittens were found in a sealed bucket in Southwest Portland. Only one of those kittens survived. He was taken to DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital and will hopefully be healthy enough for adoption soon.
Background: Kitten rescued from sealed bucket
In Salem, a kitten was found stuck in industrial-strength glue and rescued in late July. That 10-week-old kitten was taken to the Willamette Valley Animal Hospital in Keizer for treatment and already has a new, permanent home lined up.