VAN BUREN, Maine — Police have summoned two people with multiple charges of cruelty to animals after they allegedly abandoned two cats outside in the freezing cold.

Van Buren police Officer Nathan Chisholm said Thursday that Peter Gervais, 40, and Amy Gervais, 29, each were charged with two counts of cruelty to animals on Saturday, Jan. 16, after an investigation determined the pair had “abandoned cats on various rural streets in Van Buren.”

Chisholm said two cats were abandoned one or two days apart, purportedly because the owners “just wanted to get rid of them.”

The officer said that he and his fiancee, who were out walking, found one of the cats, and Sgt Luke Dyer found the other.

Dana Kasian, a longtime pet rescue volunteer who is a board member of the Halfway Home Pet Rescue in Caribou, tended to both of the cats before they were taken to the Halfway Home to receive veterinary care and rehabilitation.

“One of the cats was found frozen, almost sticking to the sidewalk,” she said. “Luckily, the officer went up to it and noticed that it wasn’t dead, so they picked her up and brought her here.”

It also had been declawed, so it had no way to get food or defend itself. Kasian said it appeared to have suffered some sort of trauma, possibly from being hit by a car.

The other cat, Kasian said, was not as badly hurt, but she was just “traumatized and frozen.”

Norma Milton, director of the Halfway Home Pet Rescue, said the shelter staff had “lost their hearts to them,” and that both animals were “doing well” at the shelter. Both cats had seen a veterinarian and were scheduled to be rechecked in the coming days.

Milton said she could not offer more information in light of a possible pending court case.

Chisholm said both suspects were “found within a couple of days.”

“We want people to know that we take these type of crimes seriously,” he said. “I am sure this goes on everywhere, but we see a lot of that around here, and people are going to get charged for it. It is a serious crime.”