LAPLANCHE – It wasn’t the morning Cheryl La Rocque expected. Around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, she walked out into her yard and found a container with ten young kittens inside, a blanket and a small pile of uncooked macaroni.
“I walked out and there was an upside down bin,” said a tearful La Rocque. “I said, ‘well what’s this?’”
The bin, La Rocque said, had the cover taped down. When she turned it over, she saw a small air hole and inside, the small kittens.
“They couldn’t breathe in there,” she said. “The lid was upside down and that’s where the hole was. I heard screaming and quickly opened the lid, saw the kittens, slammed the slid shut and ran to my car. This is where they’ve been since.”
La Rocque said she’s unsure how long the kittens were in the bin, possibly without air. But this isn’t the first time La Rocque has had cats left on her property.
In the past, she said she’s set up a small shelter for the cats and has fed them but yesterday’s incident was the final straw.
“It’s got to stop,” she said “I help outdoor cats, to feed them, but to do this to kittens is deplorable. And to shelter the responsibility because they just don’t want to deal with it, onto someone else who has a kind heart is cruel.”
La Rocque said she’s always tried to be kind to stray animals, taking them to the shelter when they have room and finding them good homes on her own. She never expected to see this sort of abandonment.
“These are beautiful babies, and there’s two little white ones,” she said. “There’s black ones and orange ones, all from different litters. What someone did is gather up all the kittens around their house or their neighbours.”
Unfortunately, La Rocque said she’s unable to rescue the 10 kittens. She said she would like to take them to the shelter but they too are full and have a waiting list. She took the kittens to the veterinarian and received some emergency food.
The white kittens, La Rocque fears, are unwell, which is assumes is from lack of food and water and their time in the bin.
“They’re coming around now, because they were wet from having the other kittens on top of them,” she said.
La Rocque said she is a little worried as the kittens are different ages and some looked to have been well cared for, possibly taken without their owner’s knowledge.
Currently, the kittens are at the Moncton SPCA.
“It’s better than being left to suffocate in a box or left on the streets to die,” she said. “And that was to 10 little lives that didn’t deserve this.”
After taking the kittens to the SPCA, La Rocque contacted Amherst police. Sgt. Dwayne Pike said what La Rocque described falls under the civil section of the criminal code.
“In this case, we have some very young kittens,” said Pike. “The weather hasn’t been great this time of year especially. Anyone who leaves (animals) outside in a box like that, it would fall under this Section 446, causing damage or injury.”
Section 446 says it’s an offence to willfully neglecs, abandon or cause unnecessary pain suffering or injury to an animal (or bird).
“Depending of what really happened, we don’t have all the details yet, someone could be facing some very serious charges is this is what happened,” said Pike. “It’s something that, if this is what happened, it’s quite concerning to everyone in the community.”
The incident is under investigation.