Cats found in bins on the side of central Alberta highway weren’t abandoned after all

It’s now known that two containers of cats found on the side of a highway in central Alberta weren’t abandoned after all. The man who initially reported the cats and reached out to Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society has recanted his statement and admitted the cats belonged to a family member who wasn’t caring for them properly.

sick kitten (Global News screenshot)
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

The story generated outrage. The two Rubbermaid containers were found next to the railroad tracks between Settler and Erskine and were duct taped shut with air holes drilled into the lid. Inside were 15 cats with many in poor condition.

the bins (screenshot Global News)

Kittens as young as five weeks were in the bins. At least the cats weren’t in the bins for days as first feared. Many are malnourished and most are suffering from upper respiratory infections. The AARCS staff felt like the cats had belonged to someone. They were right and the truth has come out this weekend.

AARCS calls the case “a symptom of the desperate state of cats in our province and the huge number of unwanted kittens born each and every day.” A media statement was posted Saturday on Facebook stating

“An act of desperation. We ask that you please read this post carefully and take into consideration the power that your words hold. The man who initially reported the abandoned cats and kittens has reached out to AARCS and tonight recanted his statement that these animals were discarded in storage containers and deserted on the side of the highway. These cats were not his own, but a family member’s who was unable to provide care, leaving them in the poor condition in which we received them. 

The struggling family was in dire need of support and he knew that they couldn’t manage the medical needs required to care for the cats. Out of deep concern for the welfare of these animals and children in the home, he took it upon himself to remove them from the home using plastic storage containers. 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. 

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. Though this doesn’t excuse his actions, he has presented himself to the authorities and is prepared to face the consequences with the investigation ongoing. 

We ask for your patience and respect for the investigative process. As compassionate individuals, this situation is heart wrenching no matter which way you look at it, and we ask kindly that the virtues represented by these animals are kept in mind when passing our own judgments and making comments. 

This is a symptom of the desperate state of cats in our province and the huge number of unwanted kittens born each and every day. Shelters are full and struggling to take in as many animals as they can, but it isn’t their lone responsibility to take in animals well beyond their capacity. As a society, we need to think about the value of these lives and find a humane and compassionate solution for the massive overpopulation issue so that no one else feels this level of desperation, including subsidized low/no cost spay and neuter, TNR initiatives, and elevating the value of cats in our society. 

Thank you for your care, concern, contributions and your words of support. These animals are safe, cared for and are on the road to recovery. We will continue to provide updates on the progress of the #15Virtues cats and kittens.”

Before judging this man, please take it into consideration that at least he did get the cats to a safe place. One problem is rescues are full with the long kitten season this year, no-kill shelters have a waiting list for turn-ins and the man hoped the story he came up with would get the cats into a safe place faster where they’d be cared for and not killed.

cats being cared for (screenshot Global News)

Although he went about this in the wrong way, even AARCS says his heart was in the right place. No information is available at this time as to whether he or the family who owned the cats are in trouble with the law.

The cats have all been given new names. A video here shows more of each individual kitty.

How do the readers here feel about this situation? Please sound off in the comment sections below.

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1 thought on “Cats found in bins on the side of central Alberta highway weren’t abandoned after all”

  1. Desperate needs require desperate measures. This man had the compassion and drive to get those cats out, it was a desperate long shot, it worked.

    It could have so easily gone wrong. I hope the authorities are not tough on him. Cats have so few human friends.

    Maybe he could bang the drum for spay and neuter or TNR in his locale, or even just among his family? This would help more cats and educate humans too.


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