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Animal shelter turns to community for help after abandoned pets left at doorstep

AMELIA COUNTY, Va. -- The Amelia County Animal Shelter had been dealing with big abandonment problem.

Earlier this month, Deputy Animal Control Officer Kirstin Krueger arrived at work and made a heartbreaking discovery.

“There was a carrier outside that had a blanket draped over it. When I went to go check in the carrier, there was a kitten in it that had passed away overnight,” she said. “I’m assuming he was alive when they dropped him off.”

Then just two days later, she faced a similar situation.

“I came to work and there was another carrier sitting at the end of the sidewalk that was outside with another kitten in it that was really sick,” Krueger recalled.

She and other staff members at the animal shelter did everything they could to save the young kitten, who was found soaking wet after a night in the rain.

“We named him Harcos, which is Hungarian for fighter," said Krueger. "We looked up words online to find something."

But he also passed away, likely of pneumonia. Krueger believes the kitten was never given a fighting chance.

“If he would have come in a little sooner, if somebody would have just talked to us, we could have had him taken care of that day, instead of leaving him overnight where he was cold,” she said.

The two kitten deaths moved Krueger to take action.

“I decided to start a GoFundMe to put up cameras. One, so we kind of can see what's going  on and also hopefully deter people from doing that,” she said.

With the money the animal shelter raised, they were able to buy two surveillance cameras. They installed one above the garage and the other by the front door. The ultimate goal is to make sure animals are not abandoned outside after hours.

“It’s not illegal to bring me a stray cat, but it is illegal to drop them off at my doorstep," Krueger said.

Anyone charged with abandoning an animal faces a class three misdemeanor and could end up paying a fine, depending on the judge. Krueger said she wants everyone to know the crime can be easily avoided.

“They can bring us the animals,” she said. “We’re not going to say no. If the animal is sick or the animal is inured, we’re going to help. We’re not going to turn you away for that.”

Donations are still being accepted through the animal shelter’s GoFundMe page.

Any amount received over their goal will be given to Amelia Patrons for Animal Welfare (APAW) to aid in shelter needs. The funds will be used to purchase essential items such as vaccines, beds, and medications.

Krueger said they are thankful for all the support they’ve gotten so far.

“Even with just the shares because that was my biggest thing,” she said. "Just getting the word out there that you don’t have to do this and so for everybody to kind of share it and be so supportive has made a huge difference for us."