A backpack full of kittens sounds cute, but when rammed into the wheel wells of a vehicle, it becomes a shocking case of animal abuse.
A local bus driver was horrified to find two backpacks full of Siamese cats in his wheel wells on Thursday afternoon, after investigating a thump he felt while backing up.
“One had the mother cat in it, the other had five kittens in it,” Prince Albert SPCA manager Debbie Lehner said. “Unfortunately, one kitten was dead from the tires.”
A second kitten died on Sunday night, presumably due to internal injuries.
“What was most disturbing was these bookbags with this cat and kittens were wedged underneath the tires, up into the tire well, so that nobody … would have even seen those bookbags,” Lehner said.
“It was intentional and purposeful that that bus driver would run over those kittens and kill them all.”
The “distraught and very upset” bus driver brought the cats home and cared for them before a SPCA employee was able to pick them up on Friday, Lehner said.
At their temporary home at the SPCA’s cat room, the mother cat is sharing her double kennel with the three surviving kittens, who are between about six and eight weeks old.
Watching the cats playfully tumble over one another, Lehner said that this isn’t the first time the SPCA has had to deal with animal abuse cases, wherein cats were intentionally killed.
“This is just another incident that goes hand in hand,” she said, bitterness creeping into her voice.
What was most disturbing was these bookbags with this cat and kittens were wedged underneath the tires, up into the tire well, so that nobody … would have even seen those book bags. - Prince Albert SPCA manager Debbie Lehner
“Last year, somebody in Prince Albert was killing cats by putting them in black garbage bags and throwing them into the river, so that isn’t too different from what we saw this last weekend.”
The cats were placed in what appear to be two identical brand new pink, blue and white “iFly” brand bookbags. The bags will be handed over to city bylaw officers as evidence.
“We’re looking for people who know who owned the backpacks or those cats,” Lehner said.
The vehicle was parked on Exhibition Drive when the incident took place, which adds another level of frustration for Lehner and other staff members because that’s right outside of the SPCA building.
“It was just a matter of leaving them in the bookbags and leaving them at our gate,” Lehner said, noting that although this still isn’t ideal situation, it’s better than killing them.
“To intentionally hide them under ... wheels, to be killed –- I can’t even imagine what goes through people’s minds in thinking that way.”
Tips can be called in to the city police’s non-emergency phone number, at 953-4222, or anonymously through Crime Stoppers, at 1-800-222-8477.
The four cats that survived Thursday’s animal abuse incident are available for adoption, after further monitoring by SPCA staff, Lehner said. Prior to the second kitten’s death on Sunday, the feline appeared healthy.