LEWISTON, Maine — Four newborn kittens were found covered in fleas and maggots in a Dumpster on Friday, and the animal control officer believes they were dumped there.

All four kittens were taken to the Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston, where they were immediately cleaned and bottle fed. However, two of the kittens were so weak they died over the weekend.

One of the remaining kittens has since been given to Moxie, a shelter cat who gave birth to her own litter a few days ago. Moxie immediately adopted the kitten and began nursing and cleaning her. The other kitten was expected to join that litter Monday. Both kittens, their new littermates and Moxie will be placed in foster care.

Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout said someone discovered the kittens in the Dumpster and called him to report it. He declined to say where in the city the Dumpster was located, because the incident is still under investigation. He believes charges will be filed.

“These [kittens] were dumped,” he said.

Operations Manager Zachary Black said the kittens were likely a day old or less when they were found.

“Their umbilical cords were still attached to them. We had to cut them off,” Black said. “So the mom cat had probably just given birth when they were tossed.”

The two remaining kittens — a male and female — are short-hair gray tiger-tortoiseshell cats. Black said it’s saddened the staff to see the newborn kittens discarded.

“We’re here seven days a week to take pets in, so throwing them away isn’t necessary,” he said. “We don’t ask any questions as long as you’re from our Androscoggin County. We take pets in. We don’t have a fee; we just ask for a donation.”

The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society is currently caring for 250 cats, including about 100 in foster care. The shelter is at capacity for cats and kittens. It has been so inundated with the animals lately that it’s currently giving away adult cats and has cut in half its adoption fee for kittens. Adoptive families can save another $15 by donating cat or kitten food or litter.

Although it’s at capacity, the shelter does not turn away animals. It has found adoptive homes for about 2,400 animals since January.

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