LIVES SAVED: Barbara Steffensen, of Animal Rights and Rescue, Lismore, with two of the five kittens saved from certain death after being found in a sealed box with their mother on Thursday.
LIVES SAVED: Barbara Steffensen, of Animal Rights and Rescue, Lismore, with two of the five kittens saved from certain death after being found in a sealed box with their mother on Thursday. Patrick Gorbunovs

Mum, kittens left to die in heartless act

ANIMAL Rights and Rescue Northern Rivers is outraged after five kittens and their mother were found dumped in a sealed box in a car park.

A member of the public found the three-and-a-half-weekold kittens and their mother minutes from death under Lismore Shopping Square on Thursday.

Found in a cardboard box, taped up so all cracks were sealed, the kittens had collapsed by the time they were brought to Animal Rights and Rescue.

Barbara Steffensen, from the not-for-profit volunteer rescue group, said the felines would have been dead within another 10 minutes in the box.

She said it was lucky a member of the public, while walking by, happened to hear a weak scratching coming from inside the box and decided to take a look.

"This has happened because some person didn't have the decency as a responsible citizen to desex the cat in the first place," Ms Steffensen said.

They've probably gone home and had a cup of tea, gone to bed and slept soundly and not thought twice.

"No decency, whatsoever.

"This was a dysfunctional person who's done this."

But Ms Steffensen said these occurrences happened all too often.

"It's like clockwork," she said. "It's a cruel biological situation that the cats start breeding every year about October.

"And it's beyond every rescue group's capacity. We can't cope. In Australia, we're really backwards.

"We're not desexing cats, but then we blame the cats for producing litters and damaging wildlife.

"Everyone is so ready to hate a cat. Blaming the pub- lic or the animal will not get us what we want for the safety of the animal."

Ms Steffensen said the most practical solution was obvious and needed to be introduced as soon as pos- sible - high-volume, low-cost or free desexing.

She said Australia needed to "use the solutions that we can to see a better solution. And we won't get that without (low-cost or free desexing) rolled out."

Ms Steffensen explained that in countries where this system has been introduced, such as the US and UK, the reduction in kill rates for unwanted cats had dropped enormously.

"In the US, the number has gone from 20 million to three million after they decided to introduce high-volume, low-cost desexing," she said.

To adopt an animal, volunteer or contact Animal Rights and Rescue Northern Rivers, visit the group's website or phone 02 6622 1881.



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