In a stunning act of indifference and animal cruelty, someone tossed four or five, 6-week-old gray and tan kittens into traffic on southbound Highway 99, near Avenue 13, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Officer Ronnie Lopez said a call was received about 8:30 a.m. from a woman following behind a gold or tan mini van.
"At first she said she couldn't believe what she was seeing. The tan, or gold mini van slowed and tossed a kitten out, and went a little farther and threw out another. She saw one of the kittens right in front of her, in the center of the traffic lane and was able to pass directly over it without hitting it," Lopez said.
Lopez said the woman was not able to get a license plate, but CHP had a description and was looking for the vehicle.
The upset woman stopped along shoulder but was unable to to catch the frightened kittens running along the roadside and in traffic. They eventually ran into and hid in the thick vegetation in the center divide.
Lopez said animals running in traffic were a serious roadway hazard, and have the potential to cause accidents when motorists stop, swerve or crash to avoid them.
"We were able assist the woman and catch this one kitten. The others are still out there somewhere. I don't know who would do something like this," Lopez said.
Lopez said the kitten that was recovered was friendly and used to people.
"It wasn't wild. It curled right up, and hid in the towel once I got a hold of it," he said.
Lopez said he would probably be adopting the kitten, once it recovered from it's ordeal and was altered. The kitten was placed into an animal shelter foster home.
"I know the animal shelter is so overwhelmed right now," he said.
Kirsten Gross, director of Madera County Animal Services said she was shocked but not surprised by the horrendous act of cruelty.
"Unfortunately, it happens all too often here. This was someone without a conscience. Young kittens can't fend for themselves and they depend on humans for care. Animals are not disposable - like trash. They have feelings of pain, fear and suffering. The kittens that weren't located (in this incident) will die a horrible death of dehydration, starvation or get maimed or killed in traffic," she said.
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