The cruel dumping of a litter of kittens left freezing and frightened in a storm has sparked outrage.
Abandoned outside the Lonsdale Animal Shelter in South Australia, the RSPCA says the callous act is sadly all too common.
The five kittens, just six weeks old, were hours from death when they were found in a laundry basket outside the shelter on Saturday morning.
“Abandoning an animal is never an option,” RSPCA’s Cheryl Doudle said.
“It does put them at risk of harm from predators, the weather.”
The kittens suffered cat flu and conjunctivitis, but this wasn’t the only case of cat dumping on the weekend.
Across the city at Campbelltown, Tony Ritter came to the rescue when he heard a cat’s distressed cries coming from a zipped-up bag in a park.
“The cat was screaming,” he said.
“I came and saved it, put it in my house and then rang the RSPCA straight away.”
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There are tough penalties for anyone who dumps an animal that suffers serious harm or dies – up to four years in jail or a $50,000 fine.
“Sometimes we’ll find boxes with holes in them [at the shelter], where we believe there are animals that have escaped,” Ms Doudle said.
“We always just want people to contact us during opening hours and bring their animals in if they can’t care for them anymore.”
The dumped cats are expected to make a full recovery.