A man who said he found 15 cats abandoned on the side of the road in central Alberta has recanted his story.
Originally, the man said he noticed what he thought was garbage in the ditch near the community of Alix, so he investigated and found nine kittens and six adult cats trapped in containers, which had holes in them and the lids were taped shut.
“He said he felt awful for lying and needed to come clean,” said Deanna Thompson, executive director for Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society in a phone interview from Calgary on Saturday. “He said he didn’t find them, but they were family cats.”
Thompson said the man claimed the cats belonged to a family member who wasn’t able to take care of them. He was concerned about the welfare of the cats and the children in the home, but couldn’t find anywhere to accept the pets.
The society received phone calls from people who said they saw the bins alongside the road for days and as early as Monday.
READ MORE: Fifteen cats found abandoned, trapped in containers near Stettler
Dan Kobe, spokesperson for the Alberta SPCA, said he is aware the man recanted his story, but added there is still an active investigation.
Whether or not the recantation is true, Kobe said charges will be laid if animals were put in distress.
“We will search for the truth for sure,” Kobe said in a phone interview. “Ultimately, what we are looking to find out is if someone put animals in distress and if they did we can lay charges.
“Under either version of the story, the potential exists to be charged.”
The cats and kittens are in Calgary receiving treatment from a veterinarian.