FRANKLIN COUNTY, MAINE – A woman who abandoned two cats zipped inside of a suitcase on the porch of the Franklin County Animal Shelterjust on Monday has not come forward despite pleas made by the shelter.
The cats were left Monday around 11:30 a.m. with the Farmington shelter opening to the public at noon.
A year-old cat was found zipped rightly into the large compartment of the suitcase, and a 5-month-old kitten was found zipped into the bag’s small side compartment, Kelsey Cler, website and volunteer coordinator for the shelter, stated Wednesday.
The shelter posted about the cats, along with a photo, on its Facebook page Monday, and while the post has generated outrage and concern for the well-being of the pets, no one has claimed that they know the woman or the cats.
Monday’s Facebook post, which had been shared 199 times and garnered 84 comments as of Wednesday afternoon, was not meant to shame the woman who left the cats, according to Cler, but rather serve as a public service announcement of how to properly surrender pets to the shelter.
“It wasn’t a witch hunt or anything,” Cler said. “Even if (the woman) does step forward, it would just be a conversation.”
Cler said someone in the parking lot waiting for the shelter to open Monday saw the woman drive up to the front of the building in a bright red SUV, putting the suitcase on the porch and drive away.
The woman who abandoned the cats was wearing a beanie-type hat and eyeglasses, according to the woman who saw her.
The witness noticed a compartment of the bag move as she knocked on the door of the shelter to alert staff. The cats were outside for about five or 10 minutes, Cler said.
“The cats are healthy,” Cler said. The shelter does believe they are mother and kitten.
“They’re doing great here. They are a little shy,” Cler said.
The shelter accepts surrendered pets but only when there is room. Last year the shelter accepted 299 surrendered cats, a high number for the shelter. There is a standing fee of $30 for surrendering a cat. To surrender a dog there is a fee of $50. The dog must additionally pass a specific temperament test. Money generated from the surrender fee is used to spay or neuter the pets.
Cler said that people often try to avoid the surrender fee by abandoning their pets outside of the shelter, like Monday’s incident. In the past, a dog has been left chained to the shelter’s front porch and a box of kittens was found down at the end of the driveway during a blizzard.
If an individual is not able to afford the surrender fee, the shelter will work with them.
“We understand that people get in a financial situation and cannot afford to care for their pets. We will work with people,” Cler said. “We definitely don’t encourage leaving them outside.”