On Saturday, July 21, with temperatures over 90 degrees, a closed foam cooler containing five kittens was dumped outside of the entry gate of the South Florida Wildlife Center while the facility was open. When discovered by center staff, the kittens were panting, shaking and highly agitated. They were bathed in sweat and had high temperatures. The South Florida Wildlife Center medical team is working to stabilize and treat them—four males and one female.

While the Center rescues, rehabilitates and releases over 12,000 wild animals representing 350 species each year, the team is also highly experienced with domestic animals.

Debra Parsons-Drake, executive director of the South Florida Wildlife Center, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States, released this statement:

“There is no excuse for people leaving defenseless animals in tightly-sealed boxes or tethered in the burning sun, with no regard, or at least, no understanding, of the impact the heat, stress and lack or air flow has on the animals. This happens over and over again, from coast to coast. Many times, like in this case of the kittens dumped here at the South Florida Wildlife Center, these animals are in critical condition—frantic, panting, dehydrated and close to having seizures from their horrific ordeal. We hope that the efforts of our medical staff will be successful in saving them.

Leaving the kittens in such awful conditions was life-threatening and cruel; the person who did so left them outside of a wildlife hospital, instead of bringing them inside, or taking them to a domestic animal shelter. It is fortunate that the South Florida Wildlife Center has skilled veterinary and domestic animal experience or the outcome would likely have been fatal.

Surrendering an animal, in a compassionate and responsible way, is nothing to be ashamed of. But leaving them defenseless, afraid and in peril is unconscionable.”

South Florida Wildlife Center, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States, is the nation’s highest-volume wildlife trauma hospital. A national leader in wildlife veterinary medicine and rehabilitation, SFWC provides emergency rescue, triage, diagnostics, veterinary treatment, recovery habitats, orphan rearing, and expert rehabilitative care to more than 350 wild species. Founded in 1969, the Fort Lauderdale-based facility helps more than 12,000 injured, orphaned, or imperiled animals annually, responds to wildlife conflicts, and collaborates locally and nationally on issues impacting human, environmental and animal health. Visit https://www.facebook.com/southfloridawildlifecenter/ for regular updates on our work.

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