By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on January 17, 2024.
A 28-year-old Picture Butte man has been charged with cruelty to animals in a disturbing case that has a local cat rescue agency calling for help to care for animals they say were abused.
Last Chance Cat Ranch of Lethbridge brought the horrific discovery to the public’s attention on Facebook last weekend, sharing details regarding the animal abuse.
The Herald reached out to Last Chance Cat Ranch Lethbridge but has not received a response as of deadline.
“The owner has clearly told me one kitten stomped on, breaking its spine, dead; another kitten pinned, and its limbs and body pulled and stretched painfully, that kitten is now dead; four, five-month-old kittens, individually microwaved on Monday, all dead. All done by one, two roommates. This is at a residence in Picture Butte and my understanding is it’s been going on for awhile,” Last Chance Cat Ranch Lethbridge posted on its Facebook page.
Coaldale RCMP confirmed this week that on January 8, officers investigated the residence in Picture Butte for the reported animal abuse and 28-year-old Nicholas Whimster was “charged with one count of section 445 of the Criminal Code,” which is injuring and endangering animals.
A court date for Whimster has not been set yet and an RCMP representative could not give any more details or confirm the allegations contained in the cat ranch post.
Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) said an investigation is ongoing.
“I can confirm the Alberta SPCA Animal Protection Services team has received a complaint about animals potentially in distress in the Picture Butte area. The investigation is open and active and as such, we are unable to provide details about the investigation,” noted Alberta ASPCA Director of Communications Dan Kobe.
An update on Last Chance Cat Ranch’s Facebook page stated that with the ASPCA assistance the mother cat of the four dead kittens was safely retrieved along with other cats in the household and are undergoing medical treatment at a veterinarian’s.
“Oh, how this poor momma has endured. There is no doubt in our minds, it crushed her heart and soul, hearing her babies’ final moments,” posted Last Chance Cat Ranch Lethbridge on social media.
Last Chance Cat Ranch is accepting donations to assist with the cost of vet treatments. The donation page can be found on Last Chance Cat Ranch Lethbridge Facebook page or be e-transferred to email@example.com.
“We are begging you to make change in your town. All of these cats were ‘rescued,’ off the streets of your town. This tells us you have a spay, neuter problem, a roaming problem, and residents are lacking at being responsible pet owners just like in every town; but unfortunately, these poor souls met a horrific end in yours,” posted by Last Chance Cat Ranch Lethbridge on Facebook in a plea to residents of Picture Butte.
“Please step up and make a change. Please make sure your residents know you won’t tolerate animal cruelty. Please promote and find ways to increase your spay, neuter percentage. Take the necessary steps to see change within your town.”