According to feline math, a Warwick Parks and Rec employee saved 81 lives on the job Monday.
Paul Joutras gripped the cardboard box and aimed for his city trash truck.
“But I heard this meow,” Joutras said while emptying the trash barrel at Porter Field in Warwick. “The box was over by the woods. I didn’t know there was anything in it.”
He discovered the box at the original Rocky Point entrance earlier Monday morning. When he opened it, 18 big eyes were staring back at him.
“In more than 20 years on the job, I’ve never seen anything like that,” Joutras said, later that day, while walking to the far end of the Porter Field parking lot where someone had discarded an empty pet carrier.
“Oh no,” he exclaimed. “Another one?”
He walked over to the pet carrier and cautiously bent down to look inside.
“Not two in one day,” he said. It was Monday morning. The work week had just begun.
The carrier was empty. A piece of twine held the broken door in place. There was no way to know if it was discarded empty, or with a tiny soul inside.
“How could somebody do that?” Joutras asked himself aloud.
He called the Warwick Police to report the box of kittens. They responded to the scene.
“In regards to (the) found kittens, one of our officers was called by an employee of Parks and Recreation in regards to finding a litter of kittens (nine in total),” confirmed Warwick Police Lt. Randy Francis, of the department’s First Platoon Uniform Patrol Division. “The officer took custody of the kittens and transported them to the Warwick Animal Shelter (around 9 a.m.).”
A Warwick Police incident report by Officer Stanley J. Hermanowski Jr. indicates “the kittens appeared in good health” and “there was food in the box.”
“Animal Control was advised and had contacted the Warwick Animal Shelter,” Hermanowski wrote. “I then transported the litter of kittens to the Warwick Animal Shelter, where they were turned over to shelter staff.”
At the Warwick Animal Shelter, employee Deb Niosi said she could confirm the kittens had arrived, but she could not comment on their health or adoption status.
She did, however, speak generally on the shelter’s adoption policy.
All cats and dogs adopted from the shelter are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, tested for diseases (cats are tested for leukemia and FIV, the cat version of HIV), and microchipped.
“People can come in and view animals during the hours we are open to the public,” Niosi said.
The shelter is open to the public from 12-4 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (closed on Thursdays and holidays).
“The animals are all vetted before they are adopted,” Niosi said.
Prospective pet adopters can call the Warwick Animal Shelter (101 Arthur W. Devine Boulevard) at 401-468-4377 or email email@example.com.
If you know who discarded the cats, call the Warwick Police Department at 468-4200 (wireless users can text tips and information to 847411 — in the message box begin by typing in WARWICKPD, enter a space, then type your tip and hit send).
Joutras’ wife Sheila may be stopping by to visit the rescued animals.
“My wife wants (to adopt) one of the kittens,” Joutras said.
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