Despite reports motorists had spotted bins in the ditch as early as Monday, a man who said he found 15 cats abandoned between Stettler and Erskine has recanted his story.
Originally, the man said he noticed what he thought was garbage in the ditch, so he investigated and found nine kittens and six adult cats trapped in containers, which had holes in them, but the lids were taped shut.
“He said he felt awful for lying and needed to come clean,” said Deanna Thompson, executive director for the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society in Calgary.
“He said he didn’t find them, but they were family cats.”
Thompson wouldn’t reveal the man’s name, but said he lives in Stettler.
She said the man claimed the cats belonged to a family member who wasn’t able to take care of them. He was concerned about the welfare of the cats and the children in the home, but couldn’t find anywhere that would accept the cats.
Thompson said that the society received phone calls from individuals who said they spotted the bins alongside the road for days, and as early as Monday.
Dan Kobe, a spokesman for the Alberta SPCA, said he is aware the man recanted his story, but said there is still an active investigation.
Whether or not the recantation is true, Kobe said if animals were put in distress, charges will be laid.
“We will search for the truth for sure,” he said in a phone interview. “Ultimately, what we are looking to find out is if someone put animals in distress and if they did we can lay charges.
“Under either version of the story, the potential exists to be charged.”
Kobe said every investigation is different and it’s difficult to say when it will be completed, but he expects it to take a few weeks.
The cats and kittens are in Calgary at the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society receiving treatment from a veterinarian.
“They are doing OK. The kittens have upper respiratory infection, crusty eyes and sneezing,” said Thompson.
“We believe the kittens will recover. They are maybe five weeks old. They are skinny and malnourished.
“The adult cats seem to be in quite good shape,” she added.