Wise County Messenger

Allsup’s manager rescues kittens found in trash can

Kittens found inside bag that was thrown away at the gas station

WORLD FAMOUS COMPASSION — Allsup’s manager Dawn Simpson rescued a litter of kittens that were put in a bag and left to die in a trash can at her store at 201 N Cates St. in Decatur.  Simpson used a box that would typically carry the gas station chain’s “World Famous” burritos to transport the newborn kittens to the warmth and safety of her home. AUSTIN JACKSON/WCMESSENGER

In between managing inventory, assisting customers and handling payroll, Allsup’s manager Dawn Simpson has recently taken on a new responsibility: nursing a litter of kittens back to life.

On May 4, an Allsup’s employee heard a noise in the trash can by the pumps at the Decatur gas station and pulled out a trash bag. Inside the plastic bag, sealed with a knot, were seven kittens.

“I was doing paperwork, and one of the girls told me they found kittens in the trash can,” Simpson said. “I said, ‘Oh no they didn’t!’ My heart was just broken.”

Some of the kittens still had umbilical cords attached to their tiny bodies when they were recovered. Sadly, one had already suffocated and died.

CONVENIENT CARE — After finding kittens that were abandoned in a trash can at Allsup’s on North Cates Street in Decatur, Dawn Simpson, the manager of the convenience store, has nursed them back to life. She bottle-feeds the kittens and cleans them to help them digest their food every three hours. SUBMITTED

Simpson rushed to get the kittens warm, transporting them inside – of all things – an Allsup’s burrito box. For the past three weeks, she has cared for the kittens at her home, bottle-feeding and cleaning them during her breaks. She stays up through the night, tending to the litter every three hours.

After being left to die, five of the cats survived.

“I guess I felt obligated to care for them because it was my store. Maybe it’s just because I love animals,” she said. 

A second kitten died about a day after it was found in the trash bag. Caring for the newborn litter has been equal parts devastating, maddening, stressful and fulfilling for Simpson. 

“I’m tired, but just watching them develop, it’s been very rewarding,” she said. “I just don’t see how anybody could be so heartless. The mother of the kittens had just given birth, and was probably freaking out, looking for her babies, and somebody is throwing them in the trash can. The bag was tied shut with their little bodies in it. I don’t understand how someone could do that.”

Over the last three weeks, the kittens have opened their eyes, developed teeth and put on weight. One of the kittens weighed 2.4 ounces when it was initially rescued. While it remains the smallest of the litter, it’s grown to around 9 ounces.

On Friday, the kittens crawled over one another and Simpson as she doted over them inside the gas station storeroom. 

BOUNCING BACK — Five kittens survived after a litter of seven kittens was discarded in a trash bag. Those kittens played and wrestled in their new box Friday. AUSTIN JACKSON/WCMESSENGER

“They are getting spunky,” Simpson said. 

There isn’t footage that shows the vehicle or person that dumped the newborn kittens, Simpson said. At the time, she was more worried about their lives than finding whoever dumped the kittens.

However, whoever did throw away the kittens would be in serious trouble if they were caught. Animal abandonment, according to the Texas Penal Code, is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and could result in a $4,000 fine, a year in jail, or both. Simpson said whoever did this should face felony charges.

“I wonder how they would feel if someone tied them up in a trash bag and threw them away,” she said. “Don’t come to my store and throw away babies.” 

Simpson, who already owns two cats, has no plans to keep the kittens. 

She rescued the litter because it was the right thing to do. Now, she just hopes “the babies” will find a home where they will be cherished.

The kittens’ lives started, and almost ended, in the dumps. To Simpson, she likes to believe they survived to bring families joy. 

It’s the only ending to the story that she is willing to accept.

“Cats give as much love as they receive,” Simpson said. “Somebody needs that love. Somebody needs a cat somewhere.”

If you’re interested in adopting the kittens, call the gas station (940) 627-3444 and ask for Dawn.

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