Fine issued after SPCA drop-off

Brandon Anstey
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Woman fined for transporting kittens in trunk of her car

This summer’s high temperatures have promoted frequent warnings to pet owners about leaving their fury friends in hot vehicles. Sometimes, however, to the dismay of animal rights advocates, those warnings are ignored.

A woman from the Gander area was fined last week after showing up at the SPCA with nearly a dozen kittens in the trunk of a car.

According to Bonnie Harris, manager of the SPCA in Gander, the 11 kittens were in a covered Rubbermaid container and placed in the trunk of the vehicle, which immediately raised red flags.

“A lady showed up here without calling and said she had a dozen or so kittens, and I told her we are quite filled and didn’t know if we’d be able to take them,” said Harris. “She said she had them in the trunk of her car and I told her, ‘You can’t do that because it’s illegal.’ Then she said she had them in the container, which I thought was even worse.”

According to Harris, there were two small holes at the top of the container, but water ran off of the lid when it was opened, and the kittens were starting to feel the heat.

“There two holes in the top, but with 11 kittens, there was sweat beading off  the lid,” she said. “The kittens were breathing through their mouths; I picked one up and the heartbeat was extremely high. Three kittens had actually escaped the container and when she opened the trunk, there were three kittens out in the trunk. One escaped and we haven’t been able to find that one yet.”

That’s when Harris made the decision to take the kittens to the SPCA and called municipal officers to the scene.

“It’s unreal what some people will do,” said Harris. “She said she didn’t know but even if it wasn’t the 30 degree days we’ve been having, it was still 24 degrees and in the trunk of a car. With 11 breathing animals in a confined container, she’s lucky they didn’t all die because she had them in the back of her car for an hour.”

According to Harris, the woman said she did not own the kittens; that they were stray cats but not feral. Harris believes someone owned the kittens because they were friendly with the staff at the shelter.

“She said they were out around her door,” said Harris.

“She said they were strays but legitimate strays are not friendly kittens, even at the ages of four or five weeks old. If you have a kitten born outside and hasn’t had any human contact, someone picking it up and all of that, you’re not going to be able to pick it up very easily. These kittens are very friendly and it’s just like someone had them in their house the whole time.”

The kittens showed a lack of energy and oxygen when Harris got them inside the shelter, she said, and that prompted the call to municipal enforcement officers.

“It is illegal to carry animals in the trunk of a car under the Animal Health and Protection Act, either way,” said Constable Oswald Fudge, a municipal enforcement officer with the Town of Gander. “She is being fined $115 for carrying those 11 kittens in the trunk of her car.”

Fudge added the municipal police officers now have temperature guns in their cars to check the temperature inside people’s cars.

Meanwhile, Harris said people looking to bring animals to the SPCA in Gander should always call ahead to find out how much space the shelter has for animals.

“They would have to call us first and not just show up because we are filled with cats,” she said. “I took in the 11 kittens because I didn’t know what would have happened if I didn’t.”

According to the staff at the Gander SPCA, the kittens were treated for fleas and are now being tested to determine if they have feline leukemia virus, an incurable virus that affects a cat’s immune system. The kittens will be put up for adoption if they do not have the virus.

 

banstey@ganderbeacon.ca

Twitter:@beaconnl

 

 

 

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