Elderly couple tried to drown kittens in a lake out of compassion but were stopped and reported

This story highlights the plight and vulnerability of feral cats and unwanted stray cats in the USA and an ‘old school’ way of dealing with them.

6 kittens rescued from drowning. Screenshot. The blurring in the middle is due to getting rid of the video's play button.
6 kittens rescued from drowning. Screenshot. The blurring in the middle is due to getting rid of the video’s play button.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The Roscommon County Prosecutor’s statement sums up the story:

“The mother cat had left and the couple was concerned about leaving the kittens outside like they had the previous litter because of the fox so brought the kittens inside. They contacted four local animal facilities, one being a rescue and were informed by all four that they could not take the kittens either because they do not take cats or because they were full and had a wait list.

The couple also reached out to a couple neighbors for advice and they did not have suggestions as to how to handle the situation. Later that evening, the couple decided that the most humane thing left for them to do was to drown the kittens so they did not starve or be left to be eaten by wild animals.

While attempting to do so, they were stopped by a neighbor who was walking in the area. The kittens were placed with another neighbor, who feeds feral cats in the neighborhood, and the mother cat and kittens are now with her and are doing well.”

Roscommon County Prosecutor May Beebe

The couple concerned are 90 and 78-years of age respectively. They found a litter of abandoned kittens in their garage and tried to place them with a rescue organisation without success so decided to kill them by drowning in a nearby lake – Higgins Lake. This has been described as an ‘old school’ method of dealing with unwanted cats. A throwback to times past when there was less of a concern for the sentience of companion animals.

Higgins Lake, Michigan, USA.
Higgins Lake. Photo in public domain.

May Beebe continues:

“As a prosecutor, I base my decisions on the law and what is in the interest of justice. These individuals were not attempting to torture these animals, they were not taking satisfaction in making them suffer, and were not trying to be cruel.

These are the things we look at when we issue criminal charges in animal cruelty cases. These people did not own these kittens and had no obligation to take them in and care for them. It is wonderful that many people will do so but not everyone has the desire or ability to afford or take in numerous animals.”

Here is the statement from the Roscommon County Sheriff on Facebook:

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

I’d like to hear from people as to whether they agree or disagree on the decision of the prosecutor.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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