A litter of six 10-day-old kittens was left tied in a plastic bag inside an old couch dumped at Wellington's Happy Valley landfill.
A worker at the tip called the SPCA yesterday afternoon after finding the litter, with the mother nowhere to be seen, Wellington SPCA senior inspector Ben Lakomy said.
Two of the kittens were dead, but three females and a male were rescued. They were examined by the SPCA vet, and were found to be in a fair condition, though suffering from conjunctivitis.
Mr Lakomy said the couch had since been destroyed at the tip, meaning there would be no way of tracking down the owner.
If they could be identified, the SPCA would speak to them with a view to pressing animal cruelty charges, which carried a fine of $50,000 or 12 months' imprisonment, he said.
"I would have thought we were getting a bit beyond it now, but it still keeps happening.
"It just reiterates how important it is to desex your animals.
"If people are finding themselves absolutely with their hands tied, they should be calling the SPCA, not resorting to completely unacceptable methods such as this."
The four kittens have been placed with SPCA foster parent Elizabeth Bayliss who, because of their age, will have to hand-feed them every two hours.
"They're completely helpless," she said. "They're just babies."
She and other SPCA foster carers will be looking after the kittens until they are 8 weeks old, when they can be desexed and put up for adoption.
- The Dominion Post
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