Rescue group says man who reported abandoned cats has recanted his story

By The Canadian Press

ALIX, Alta. — An animal rescue society says a man who reported 15 cats and kittens in plastic storage boxes on the side of an Alberta highway has recanted his story.

The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society says in a Facebook post that the man contacted them Friday night and told them the felines belonged to a family member who wasn’t able to care for them.

The post says the man used plastic containers to remove the cats from the home “out of deep concern” for the welfare of the animals as well as for children in the home, but then couldn’t find anywhere that would accept them.

The Saving Grace Animal Society earlier said the felines were discovered in taped-up tubs near train tracks between Erskine and Stettler.

The boxes had air holes punched in them, but the kittens were soaked in their own urine and feces.

The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society has been caring for the cats, and says in the post that the man has presented himself to authorities.

“He made multiple attempts to find placement for these cats, but was defeated. Losing hope and with nowhere to turn, he took drastic measures in an effort to force attention to the state of these cats,” the group’s Facebook post states.

“We understand the logic is difficult to comprehend, but we also understand the hopelessness one feels when in a situation where there are animals in need of help.”

Alberta SPCA spokesman Dan Kobe said there is still an investigation into the case.

“If we find that someone should be held responsible for causing distressed animals then we’ll lay charges,” Kobe said in an interview Saturday.

Kobe said he wasn’t aware if police were investigating the false report, saying it would be up to the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society to report it.

No one from the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society was immediately available for comment. An Alberta RCMP spokesman said he was not aware of whether police were investigating the report.

Many of the responses to the society’s Facebook post appeared sympathetic to the man’s plight, with one commenter writing that “all is forgiven.”

Kobe said it’s fairly common for someone who is trying to surrender animals to be told that the agency they’ve approached simply doesn’t have the room. All rescue organizations are dealing with a lot of cats, he said, and their shelters are all either at capacity or near capacity.

Keep calling until someone can help you out, Kobe said, noting the SPCA can provide information on who to call.

He said euthanasia is always an option, but if the cat is healthy, there is usually somewhere that can help find it a new home.

“Folks should not expect they’ll be able to find a home for a cat within a day or two. It might take a little bit of work but if they continue to work at it, usually they can find a place somewhere that can take the cat, even if it takes a couple weeks or a couple months,” Kobe said.

—By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

The Canadian Press

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