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Westport 5/15

I support our North Country SPCA Animal Shelter, but since they've got their own column I usually avoid writing about them here. Still, the shelter is an important part of our community, and recent events offer a perfect opportunity to give them some long overdue recognition in this space.

As you may have guessed, I'm talking about the abandoned kittens found recently at the Split Rock trailhead. The story began on April 22, when Rob Rich, a UVM student and avid hiker, got out of his car at Split Rock found five kittens-three newborns whose eyes had just opened, and two that were about a month old-on the ground nearby.

Rob brought them to the shelter, where-as if that wasn't enough of a good deed for the day-he also made a donation to the shelter on the spot, and then went back to the trailhead to look for any kittens he might have missed. He came back to the shelter to tell director Pam Rock that he hadn't found any. I'm hoping he was on his way to visit his relative, Westport resident Mary Beal, but judging from his generous behavior it's a good guess he would have made the extra trip anyway.

The next day, however, two more kittens were found, this time by Essex resident Linda Coffin. At about six weeks, they were older than the others and hostile at first, and may have been hiding when Rob came back. Like Rob, Linda brought the kittens she had found to the shelter as well.

The terrible part is that their ages show that the kittens made up three separate litters.

"It had to have been three separate mothers," Pam said. In other words, someone deliberately abandoned not just one but three litters of kittens.

However, thanks to Rob, Linda, Pam Rock and the North Country SPCA, they all survived this act of cruelty. Three have been adopted, and four are left, including three of the youngest ones. They will be ready to go home with you soon, but you can come in and get to know them anytime.

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