When staff at the Humane Society of Adams County arrived at the animal shelter on Wednesday, Sept. 26, they were met with a grisly scene, officials with the organization said.
Five young kittens had been left at the shelter gate in a large clear plastic tote. The tote did not have a lid, but the kittens were too young to crawl out. Tragically, rain fell during the night and the tote held several inches of water by Wednesday morning. Two of the kittens drowned, and a third had to undergo emergency resuscitation by Shelter Director Samara Ackers to be saved.
Officials with the Humane Society said pet owners should know that abandonment is not a humane option for disposing of animals.
“Leaving a domestic animal to fend for itself is cruel,” an officials with the group said. “Animal abandonment and causing harm to a companion animal are punishable offenses under Ohio Revised Code. Leaving an animal to die a tortuous death, such as by prolonged drowning, might be considered a fifth-degree felony under Ohio Revised Code section 959.131.”
Homeless domestic animals, especially young animals, are often unable to feed themselves, slowly succumbing to starvation if they are not violently killed by predators, a spokesperson for the organization said. When local shelters are full, they suggest rehoming animals through social media postings, word-of-mouth through family, friends, and co-workers, talking with a pet’s veterinarian, enlisting professional pet rehoming services, such as “Get Your Pet,” asking local rescues to post your pet as a “Courtesy Post” on their social media, and posting ads on public bulletin boards, such as libraries, grocery stores, and farm supply stores.
Pet overpopulation is an enormous problem throughout Adams County, according to HSAC which works, along with other local rescue organizations to try to provide options for local residents to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs. Low-cost spay and neuter clinics visit Winchester and West Union monthly. Lost and found animals are posted and shared on local Facebook pages such as Adams County Lost and Found Animals and the Humane Society’s page.
The Humane Society is at capacity and already has 35 cats and kittens in the animal shelter facility in West Union, plus more animals in its network of foster caretakers, a spokesperson for the organization said. The animal shelter cannot accept more animals when it does not have space. The animal shelter is an “adoption guarantee” facility, which means that animals will not be euthanized just to make space for new animals.
The three surviving kittens found in the water-filled tote on Wednesday are not out of the woods yet. They all have severe upper respiratory infections and will require weeks of care and medication if they are to fully recover. Normally, the shelter spends about $104 per cat to make the animal ready for adoption, which includes vaccinations, deworming, flea and tick treatment, and sterilization surgery. Each of the surviving kittens will likely cost $200 or more to recover from their illnesses and be made ready for adoption. Donations to help fund the care of the trio may be sent to HSAC, P.O. Box 245, West Union, Ohio 45693. Please write “Water Kittens” on the memo line.
HSAC is a 501c3 organization and donations may be tax-deductible.
For more information about the Humane Society of Adams County, or to sign your pet up for the next low-cost sterilization clinic, please call the shelter at 937-544-8585 or email [email protected].