Kittens Found Abandoned in Box Now On Road to Recovery

Public Invited to Call With Any Information on Abandonment

Marshfield (OnFocus) – Two kittens found taped in a box on N Hume in Marshfield are now on the road to recovery at Marshfield Area Pet Shelter (MAPS). On June 15, passersby contacted dispatch after finding an abandoned box near the tennis courts. The kittens were transported to MAPS, where they were immediately evaluated.

For shelter staff, the situation isn’t shocking, but sad for many reasons.

“Honestly it just wasn’t surprising. My reaction was to simply get the kittens checked in and fed, the same as any other intake,” said Kaitlin Loberg, Shelter Manager.

“I was disappointed at first, then relieved that they were found and brought to us,” added Holly Henschke, Animal Care Coordinator.” I would tell the person who dumped them that we understand desperate situations and that sometimes reaching out for help is difficult, but please call us.  Our goal is not to make people feel guilty about rehoming their pets and we do our best to take in these cats as often as we can.”

“I would just want to ask them why they thought this was their only option,” added Loberg. “Only in understanding why people do this can we hope to prevent it from happening in the future. We can speculate the reasons till the cows come home, but we will never really know why.”

Upon arrival at MAPS, the kittens required medical care.

“They are underweight from poor nutrition, and their ears were completely blocked with hardened debris from ear mites,” said Henschke. “We had to remove the obstructive debris with a hemostat (surgical tool that is like a tweezer with handles) before we could even begin cleaning the ears.  I can’t imagine they could hear very well in that condition.”

The kittens were also diagnosed with ringworm, a very contagious condition that requires extensive treatment.

“The treatment takes minimum 6 weeks and more often up to 8 weeks,” said Loberg. “They are given twice weekly bathes (which stresses them out a lot) with a special medicated solution as well as oral medication. The kittens have to be isolated from the other animals as ringworm is very contagious. It is also contagious to people so we have to wear gowns, gloves, and shoe covers to interact with them. This means they don’t get as much socialization and interaction as other cats in our care. It is a rigorous and time consuming treatment.”

To prevent situations like this from happening, everyone is encouraged to spay and neuter their pet.

“We are here to help people when they need it, but we can’t do this alone. We need everyone to help, big or small. The number one way is spay and neuter!” said Karen Rau, Executive Director at MAPS. “Animal overpopulation is real and until we can put a dent in that reality, we will continue to be overwhelmed with not enough homes for all the animals that need them. Next, donate! Without life saving donations, our work would be impossible. If you can’t donate, educate yourself and others about the obstacles shelters face and how you can make a difference.”

“Spaying and neutering is the number one way to prevent this from happening. There are so many options and resources for people to have their pet fixed at a low cost, there really is no good excuse not to do it,” said Loberg. “Also, people are welcome to just call us. If you are thinking of abandoning an animal, what is the harm in just giving us a call to see if there is another option?”

“The staff here at MAPS are respectful and understanding of anyone who calls and can’t keep their pet,” she added. “We would never shame someone for having to find a new home for a pet. We understand that circumstances change, life happens and pets need to be rehomed. What we will never understand or forgive is when someone doesn’t do the bare minimum and reach out for help, but instead tapes their pets in a box and drops it at a park.”

“Looking into low cost spay and neuter services is number one on the list,” agreed Henschke. “Thankfully, community outreach is a growing trend among larger shelters, providing veterinary care to help keep pets in their homes.  Programs like these might help in situations where people have to decide between vet care and feeding their families, which may have been a factor in this abandonment case.”

“The sad fact of sheltering is that sometimes our cages are full, our census to high to bring in another animal.  However, if that is the case when someone calls, we try to offer whatever alternatives that we can, including surrendering at a later date – usually a few weeks – to free up some space,” said Henschke. “In this instance, we would have had the space to take these boys in, but we can’t help if people don’t call us.  Yes, our voicemail message is long.  Yes, our staff rarely have time to pick up the phone when it rings.  And yes, it might take us a day to return a phone call.  But we will return that call, that’s the first and most important step in getting help.”

“Working at an animal shelter is difficult. Yes it can be very rewarding and we do get to enrich the lives of amazing animals, but there is a lot more that is just not understood.

“It’s not just sitting around playing with puppies, kittens, cats and dogs. It’s giving up your weekend to nurse a sick animal back to health. It’s making a very difficult decision about an animal who is suffering. It’s laying in bed at night hoping that you made the right decision on that adoption. It’s spending hours sitting outside a terrified dog’s kennel because he doesn’t know where his owner is.

It’s waking up every three hours to feed a two week old kitten just for that kitten not to make it. It is heart breaking work but we do it because we want these animals to know that someone cares about them,” said Loberg. “The staff here at MAPS loves and cares for every single animal here as if it were their own. Most people have two to four pets at a time, we here have an average of 50, each one special to us. That is why is it so hard for us to understand how someone couldn’t find access to a phone to simply call us and say “I need your help”. That is the least these animals deserve.”

Anyone with information about these abandoned kittens is encouraged to call ‪the police department at 715-387-4394‬ and reference Case# 20-8278. Animal abandonment is against the law and individuals can be prosecuted.

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Breanna Butler
Author: Breanna Butler

Breanna Butler is an award-winning multimedia producer born and raised in Central Wisconsin. She enjoys exploring and writing about the community. She lives in Marshfield with her husband and furry family.