Officials are searching for a person who threw a kitten out of a moving vehicle and toward a school bus in Winterport, Maine earlier this month.
The young feline, named "Hiccup" by the Ridge Runner Veterinary Services staff, survived the incident but was left with a broken leg. According to veterinary clinic staff, a school bus full of children witnessed the event, and their screams alerted the driver.
After stopping the vehicle, the school bus driver picked up the injured 9-week-old kitten and took him to the vet clinic. Officials determined that Hiccup had been severely neglected, as he was emaciated and covered in fleas.
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The kitten is being confined to a crate to prevent him from injuring his broken leg further. He has been seen by an orthopedic surgeon and it is possible he will have to have his leg amputated.
A spokesperson for the John T. Cyr bus company confirms it was one of their employees that witnessed the incident, but they declined to discuss it.
A detailed description of the vehicle involved in the animal abuse case was not immediately available. Anyone who witnessed the incident or may have information is asked to contact the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department at 1-800-660-3398.
"It was heartbreaking to say the least," said Jennifer Marlow, a veterinary assistant who cared for hiccup. Despite all he has endured, rescuers say Hiccup is a very affectionate cat.
"I can't imagine why he loves people after what happened to him, but he is such a big love...just wanting to be held all the time," Marlow said.
When her sister saw pictures of Hiccup, she decided she would adopt and care for the kitten. Marlow says Hiccup is very happy in his new home.
An online fundraiser set up for Hiccup's medical expenses has surpassed its goal. Any additional funds will be sent to a local trap neuter release program.
If you would like to help, you may do so here. Be aware that GoFundMe deducts 2.9-percent of any funds raised, plus 30 cents per donation for payment processing charges.