What was initially thought to be a case of someone throwing kittens from a moving car turned out to be a horrible accident, and "no charges will be filed," Jessamine County's director of public services said Tuesday.
Kittens initially reported to have been thrown from a silver Toyota Corolla Tuesday on U.S. 27 are now believed to fallen from the vehicle's engine compartment, said Mike Cassidy, who heads the Jessamine County Animal Shelter and other services.
As a result, "this has been ruled totally accidental and no charges will be filed" against the driver of the car, who came forward to be interviewed by an animal control officer, Cassidy said.
The officer "was able to determine there was nothing malicious to this," Cassidy said. "They found some evidence on the vehicle that the cats had either come from the engine compartment or even the wheel well of the vehicle."
At about 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, witnesses reported seeing kittens being thrown from a newer model silver or grey Corolla traveling north on U.S. 27. An animal control officer found three dead kittens — two orange and one gray, all about six weeks old — on the road.
Nicholasville authorities put out an "attempt to locate" call on the Toyota Corolla, and Lexington officers responded in an attempt to find the car, police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said. Police also put out a license number to enlist the public's help in locating the car.
But later Tuesday, the owner of the car, who lives in Nicholasville, voluntarily contacted Jessamine County Animal Care & Control and "was very distraught," Cassidy said.
The car owner said "last night she did see the mother cat carrying the kittens near the vehicle."
"It's very common, when the temperature drops like it did last night, they'll try to find a warm place to go," Cassidy said. The car owner had "parked her vehicle around 9 or 10 o'clock last night, and they probably wanted to get close to the warmth of that engine."
When the witness who reported seeing the kittens thrown was re-interviewed, she said "she didn't actually see them come from the window. They came from the direction of the vehicle," Cassidy said.
Cassidy said there was an instance once before where a woman drove to the Jessamine animal shelter "with a kitten in her wheel well."
In that instance, the woman had seen the animal in the wheel well and couldn't get it out.
"She drove here and it rode the whole way," Cassidy said. "It survived."