Freezer kittens recovering; adoption may be weeks away

3:32 PM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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Largo, Florida -- The three kittens rescued from a St. Petersburg freezer are recovering at SPCA Tampa Bay in Largo.

The 5 to 6-week-old kittens curiously peered over the edge of their crate Tuesday morning when 10 News went to check in on them.

Photo Gallery: Kittens rescued from man's freezer

"They've gotten a lot of good sleep, which they needed and they seem to be quite warm and happy," said Martha Boden, CEO of SPCA Tampa Bay.

It's quite the contrast to when the kittens were discovered in 49-year-old Rodney Blanchard's freezer on Sunday.

A friend, Eve Mulder, reported finding the kittens sealed in plastic sandwich bags when she went to get Blanchard a beer.

"It's sick," she told 10 News, unashamed of calling for help. Mulder says Blanchard pushed her down when she tried to remove the kittens, that were still meowing, from the freezer.

Deputies rescued four kittens, each sealed in a plastic sandwich bag and rushed them to an emergency vet clinic. SPCA says the quick action by the deputies saved the kittens. Unfortunately, one did not survive.

SPCA Officer Jill Purl says it's possible the plastic baggies may have bought the kittens valuable time by keeping them a bit warmer than the rest of the freezer and away from the freezer burn of the other items inside.

"I think it saved them a couple more minutes," said Officer Purl.

"Initially, they were pretty slow to respond," said Boden. 

By Tuesday morning, they were playing as if they had not been put through the torture of a freezer. It's estimated they were in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Blanchard was arrested on four counts of Animal Cruelty and one count of Battery for pushing Mulder.

It's believed the kittens belong to Blanchard's roommate Francis Bahr who was arrested along with Blanchard's son, Damien, over the weekend. Bahr and Damien Blanchard are each facing two counts of Attempted First Degree Murder, accused of shooting a couple in front of their mobile home.

Deputies say it appears Bahr was upset the woman did not want to date him.

SPCA says they will work to get Bahr to sign over custody of the kittens so they can find them good homes. The legal process may take several weeks, although SPCA is hopeful they will be able to open the adoption process by Christmastime.

SPCA will take applications once the courts deal with the custody issue.

In the meantime, the kittens will be fostered by a SPCA volunteer.

You can stay tuned to wtsp.com for updates or follow SPCA's own website by clicking here.

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