The Prince Albert SPCA is investigating allegations of animal cruelty involving eight one-week-old kittens last week.
Operations Manager Liana Maloney told 650 CKOM people watching a sporting event in a park Saturday witnessed a group of children between the ages of 6 and 12 throwing the kittens to each other, and to the ground.
The witnesses intervened and were able to convince the children to give up the animals.
The kittens were rushed to the SPCA for treatment, but the kids indicated there were more kittens.
“The animal protection officer leaned on the kids a little … saying ‘show me where the kittens are and I’ll give you a chocolate bar,'” Maloney said.
Five kittens were found in all, two of them having been “lit on fire.” The three other kittens and their mother were never found.
A mother cat in the SPCA’s care accepted all five rescued kittens into its litter, but is struggling to care for all of them.
“She has a litter of four on her own,” Maloney said. “That’s a lot of kittens for one momma.”
She said staff were hand feeding the kittens to help keep up their strength. Most of them are recovering well, but two are still “touch and go.”
“We’re hoping they’re going to pull through,” Maloney said. “We all have our fingers and toes crossed and we’re working really hard to keep them both going.”
The incident is concerning to her, especially given how young the children involved were.
“What have they been taught? What sort of future does that hold for those behaviours?” she asked.
Maloney added she hopes the parents of the children are found, and they can use the opportunity to educate them by getting them to visit and volunteer at the SPCA animal shelter.
“They can see what happens when they hurt these animals,” she said. “Hopefully that could turn it around.”
Animal protection officers are still investigating the incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact them at 306-763-6110.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story said seven kittens had been rescued, based on information provided by the Prince Albert SPCA. The story was updated on Friday May 19, 2017 to reflect new numbers from the SPCA that only five kittens were found.