LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Five days after four abandoned kittens were found dying in a dumpster in Lewiston, two have died and two have been placed in foster homes.
Androscoggin Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout has been investigating the case since Friday, and expects to meet with the District Attorney on Thursday to discuss criminal charges.
Because two animals have died, the suspect could face aggravated cruelty charges, which is a felony punishable to more than one year of prison according to Lt. Michael McGonagle with the Lewiston Police Department.
Lt. McGonagle said the kittens were found Friday in a dumpster near 22 Hillside Drive in Lewiston.
"They were just filthy, and whining quite loudly," said Allen Michaels, who lives in the apartment building near the dumpster.
Michaels said a neighbor in the same building first found the kittens on Friday when taking out the trash, and asked for his help.
"It was very hard, I can tell you that," said Michaels.
He said the ktitens were covered in trash, and had fleas and maggots on them. Their umbilical chords were still attached.
"It brought me to tears. It really did," said Michaels.
He said he heard his upstairs neighbor admit to the Animal Control Officer that she had put the kittens in the dumpster.
Police are waiting until criminal charges are filed to release her name.
Lt. McGonagle said the suspect told police she could not afford to care for the kittens.
Police say if people cannot care for their animals, they should contact their local Humane Society, Animal Control Officer, or Police Department for help.
"They're adorable little animals and they deserve a home," said Laurie Nichols, an Auburn woman providing a foster home for one of the kittens found in the dumpster.
She said the kitten is growing stronger each day, and expects her to open her eyes soon.
The Androscoggin Humane Society relies on foster parents like Nichols, especially when the shelter is full.
"We have a lot of pets becuase people couldn't take care of them, and just people know that we have plenty of spayed and neutered and healthy animals that they could come adopt and save a life," said Zachary Black, Operations Manager at the Androscoggin Humane Society.
The two surviving kittens found in the dumpster should be ready for adoption in about seven weeks.