The Marton community is banding together to search for beloved cat, Rodney.
The tabby cat had spent the majority of his life lounging around and greeting customers inside Marton's ITM store, a home he adopted after a previous staff member took him in. However, last week a member of the public who asked about Rodney said they were told by a staff member that he had been dumped out of town.
Grant Henderson, digital marketing manager at ITM's support office, said it is believed Rodney began to cause a few issues for the store around insurance and setting off alarms.
"There was some discussion about moving the cat on but certainly not in the way that it was done, so it was a very poor decision to handle it that way," Henderson said.
Posts on Facebook claim that instead of rehoming him, a Marton ITM staff member decided to take the cat 15km north of Marton and let Rodney fend for himself, a decision that has caused outrage in the town.
The majority of comments on Marton Facebook group pages said they were "disgusted and shocked" by what had happened and the staff member needed to be held accountable.
Henderson said it was brought to ITM's attention how well-loved Rodney was and how the actions of one of their staff members had made many people very upset.
ITM responded by donating $1000 to the Marton Moggies group to help cover the costs of finding Rodney.
Over the past two weeks, the Moggies have been joined by the community in the search for Rodney but he has only been sighted once where he was released.
The Moggies told their community on their Facebook page they will continue with their traps for the rest of the week and reassess then.
"We still have hope and while we would still prefer people to not come around the releasing area, if you do live between there and Marton please keep an eye out," they wrote.
They said they would like people to know there are alternatives to dumping animals.
"There are so many rescues out there who are happy to help."
Henderson said "the person who did it is feeling absolutely terrible about the situation as is the rest of the staff and we're now working to now find the cat and get him to a better home".
He said the staff member concerned has effectively stepped down from their position for a period of time and the owners of the store are now in discussions about the person's role.
"There will be some ongoing work there on just what it means to be the face of a business and it's not just about timber and nails, we've got a wider community presence to be mindful of too."
The SPCA has launched an investigation into Rodney's dumping.
A SPCA spokeswoman said deserting an animal in circumstances in which no provision is made to meet its physical, health and behavioural needs is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
"No matter what the situation, abandoning an animal is never an acceptable solution as it is likely to lead to unacceptable welfare compromise."
Pixies Animal Rescue, a non-profit organisation, said they will give a $500 reward to the person who finds Rodney.