on Thursday, December 20, 2018
On December 6, two adolescent kittens were brought to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) by their owner, in horrific condition. Both kittens were approximately 6 months old and it was immediately evident to the ARL Pet Help Center staff that the kittens needed immediate veterinary attention. The Polk County Sheriff’s office was contacted and an investigation began.
Both kittens showed evidence of major head trauma, but sadly, their injuries didn’t end there.
Ritz, a male orange kitten, was unable to stand, walk, or even sit when he arrived. He could “army crawl” with his front legs, but could barely use his hind legs. He was missing fur and had red marks in its place. His tail was covered in feces. The owner informed us that in August he was treated for a skull fracture and trauma to the lungs, but had made a recovery.
Charm, a female black kitten, was in even worse condition. She weighed a full 3 lbs. less than her brother and was in extreme pain. Her face was so swollen she could barely open one of her eyes. She was bleeding from her mouth and had blood on her fur, and our veterinarians were concerned that her jaw was broken or dislocated. She couldn’t even lift her head and frequently cried in pain during the initial examination. The owner informed us that in August this kitten was also taken to a vet for head and neck swelling.
Upon intake, Ritz was in stable condition and Charm was in critical condition with a poor prognosis. Both kittens were given pain meds and Charm was given IV fluids for dehydration and medication to help decrease the swelling in her face. She had to be syringe-fed food since she was unable to eat or drink on her own. We weren’t confident that Charm was going to make it through the night.
“Remarkably, after everything these kittens endured and the extreme pain they were in, both Ritz and Charm are incredibly sweet kittens. Even during their initial exam, they responded to our staff’s touch and purred softly when our staff held them,” said Tom Colvin, CEO for the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.
The owner informed us that a third kitten was taken to a vet in May for a degloving jaw injury. One week later the kitten was taken to the vet again for head trauma. The kitten later died at home.
Following an investigation by the Polk County Sheriff’s office, Tylor Nokes of Grimes was arrested on Wednesday, December 19 and charged with 2 counts of neglect, both serious misdemeanors, for his alleged role in abusing the 2 surviving kittens.
“We applaud the Polk County Sheriff’s office for their outstanding investigation that led to an arrest in this case. There is a proven link between animal abuse and abuse of humans so taking these cases seriously will not only protect future animals, but humans as well,” said Colvin.
Ritz and Charm are still under the care of ARL staff veterinarians and have months of treatment and recovery ahead of them, but after receiving customized veterinary care for their injuries, they have already made huge improvements in their short time at the ARL.
Donations are being accepted for their care at the button below or in-person/by mail at 5452 NE 22nd St, Des Moines, IA 50313. All donations made in December will be doubled (up to $100,000) thanks to the estate of Cheryl E. Sharp.