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'Treated like garbage': Authorities shocked by 'appalling' summer trend

The RSPCA says animals are being treated like garbage after many were found dumped during the Christmas-New Year period.

RSPCA inspectors are appalled by a “shocking” summer trend that has seen pet owners dumping animals across Adelaide.

The problem began on Christmas Day when seven kittens, three of which were just three weeks old were found by a local resident in the leafy suburb of Paradise.

The tiny animals are now doing well in foster care but they are the lucky ones. A further 16 animals have been found discarded across South Australia, and many of them did not survive.

Cats were found inside a box with a note requesting they be cared for. Source: RSPCA
Cats were found inside a box with a note requesting they be cared for. Source: RSPCA

In a separate incident on December 29, council workers investigating reports of a suspicious box at Woodcroft, in Adelaide’s outer east, found five dead kittens inside. Scratches inside the box indicate the animals were alive when they were dumped. The kittens were found huddled together inside a small box which was stashed inside a large box.

Seven kittens from two litters were found zipped inside the suitcase at Paradise. Source: RSPCA
Seven kittens from two litters were found zipped inside the suitcase at Paradise. Source: RSPCA

A week later, a cat named Almond and her two eight-week-old kittens were found abandoned inside a cardboard box on a Woodville South footpath. Attached was a note which asked for the cats to be taken care of. “They are very lovely and playful too,” it read.

Animals being 'treated like garbage'

In a statement, RSPCA South Australia’s chief inspector Andrea Lewis said animals were being treated like garbage and there was a “total absence of compassion and empathy” in most of the dumping cases.

“These are just the ones we are receiving reports about,” she said. “It’s tragic but highly likely other animals are being dumped that aren’t being found, and dying horrific deaths entombed in whatever container the culprit has left them in.”

Details of four other separate dumping incidents revealed:

  • December 26, Blair Athol, three kittens and their mother dumped in a cat carrier.

  • January 1, Elizabeth South, two underweight neo-natal kittens dumped in a box.

  • January 2, Salisbury, emaciated dog dumped from white four-wheel-drive.

  • January 2, Stepney, thin guinea pig dumped outside shopping centre

What makes this year's dumping trend unusual

An RSPCA spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the charity is “appalled” people would dump sentient creatures on the side of the road, particularly in the summer months.

“The high temperatures put them even more at risk of suffering and dying,” she said. “If they're left in an airless container in the heat, with no water, it really doesn't take long for these vulnerable creatures to die.”

Two tiny kittens were dumped in Elizabeth South (left), while an emaciated dog was abandoned in Salisbury. Source: RSPCA
Two tiny kittens were dumped in Elizabeth South (left), while an emaciated dog was abandoned in Salisbury. Source: RSPCA

During "kitten season" which occurs during the warmer months, large numbers of cats are regularly dumped. What makes this year unusual is for so many animals to be dumped within such a concentrated period.

RSPCA believes people dumping animals are either motivated by laziness or a lack of empathy. “They’re deciding to take what they see as the easiest path with no regard for the consequences for that animal,” a spokesperson said.

Animals can be surrendered to the RSPCA’s Lonsdale shelter which is open every day. Abandoning animals on the street is an offence in South Australia and those responsible can face fines of up to $20,000 or two years' jail. Penalties can increase if the case is found to be aggravated.

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