Batty and Boo, two Olean kittens who survived a shooting that killed two other kittens from their litter, are thriving and headed to a new home.
But the issue of their treatment has become a rallying cry for those who want to see a mandatory spay/neutering program in Cattaraugus County.
An Olean woman running on Mount Hermance found the two kittens unharmed Oct. 6, according to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Cattaraugus County.
The jogger found one live and one dead kitten in a cardboard box, and one live and one dead kitten outside the box. The two dead kittens had been shot.
The event traumatized the two surviving kittens, who, at first, stayed huddled together and barely ate. Now, while still a little timid, they are thriving. And a family has come forward to adopt them.
The larger issue remains.
SPCA manager Jo-Ann Averill said Thursday that she believes that this was a case of someone who had a litter and didn't know what to do with the kittens.
"It was certainly cruel and inhumane, but from my standpoint, this was not a situation where you had people trying to abuse kittens for the sake of abusing them," she said.
Instead, the abandonment and shooting of the kittens point to the need for a mandatory spay/neutering program in Cattaraugus County, Mrs. Averill believes.
"It's a major problem in this county," she said.
The town and city of Olean, the Town of Allegany and the Village of Franklinville contract with the SPCA to take in stray cats. But other municipalities have no such contracts.
By law, every municipality in New York State has to have a dog-control officer, Mrs. Averill added. There's no such regulation for cats, though.
"Most of New York State does not care about cats, period," Mrs. Averill said.