A group of kittens found badly disfigured dumped in a plastic box in South Auckland has been described as "heartbreaking" by an animal charity.
Four kittens were found in a "terrible state" by a member of the public at 9pm yesterday in a Mangere park.
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Auckland cat charity Lonely Miaow, who is now caring for the kittens, said the animals were found in a state of severe distress and in need of urgent medical attention.
The kittens weighed barely 400g and are about 4 weeks old.
They all have badly infected eyes - which had begun before the kittens were able to open their eyes.
Some of the kittens are going to need eye removal, with surgery costing $600.
The kittens have been assessed by a vet team and are now awaiting medical treatment.
"They had been dumped in a plastic box, seemingly left to die," Lonely Miaow cat care manager Kella Sanford-Clark said.
"This suffering is unnecessary and avoidable. So we hope these images make people think twice about making sure their pet is desexed.
"With kitten season now well under way, the state of these kittens is the reality of what our volunteers will be dealing with week in, week out for the next few months.
"Our vision is for Auckland to be a city without uncared-for stray and abandoned cats. The only way this can happen is if more pet owners step up to the plate and start spaying and neutering their animals."
Volunteers at Lonely Miaow are now treating the kittens and are urging Aucklanders to desex their cats.
A Givealittle page has been set up to raise funds for the kittens' medical treatment.