Abandoned kittens ready for foster home as bill gets tough on animal abuse

MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) -- Five kittens are looking for loving homes Wednesday after being rescued from a garbage can yesterday.

A man came back to his house in Merrill to find the can in his driveway with the kittens inside.

The rescued kittens are a week or two old and would not have survived much longer if they weren’t found. If this case sounds familiar, it's because we saw puppies abandoned in a dumpster in Marshfield earlier this year.

That situation is inspiring a new state bill on animal abuse.

“If that garbage can would have tipped, they would have been at risk to any of the predators in that area. And if it had rained, they could have very easily succumbed to an illness and not made it,” said Liz Friedenfels, shelter manager at the Lincoln County Humane Society.

The man who found the cats told police, he didn't know how they ended up in that driveway.

“Unfortunately, every shelter in our area that I know of is very full on cats and kittens and someone may have felt that this was the only option,” Friedenfels said.

She says there are options, however, and someone in a desperate situation should still contact a full shelter like the Humane Society, as they could provide supplies if someone simply cannot afford their animal.

Because of this case and what we saw in Marshfield, Wisconsin lawmakers are looking to protect pets from animal abuse.

Right now, animal abuse is a misdemeanor, but a new bill introduced by State Senator Jerry Petrowski and Representative John Spiros would make abusing pets with the intent to kill a Class I felony.

"They don't have a choice who they go to live with. We all have choices," Rep. Spiros said by phone, explaining why he wants to protect pets.

"Since I had worked on another animal bill a few years ago, we thought we would take on this one too, especially since it's really in our backyard," he said.

The bill would also let judges remove pets from abusers.

“It’s going to make the community safer, because animal abuse leads to so many other bad things,” said Friedenfels.

Representative Spiros is set to ask for an Assembly and State Senate hearing on the bill.

As for the kittens, they’re headed to a foster home until they are old enough to be adopted.

If you want to foster animals, the Lincoln County Humane Society has a training program to get people started. You can also donate food and supplies for the kittens by contacting the Humane Society at 715-536-3459.