SALT LAKE CITY — Police are investigating why someone threw three kittens from a speeding car, killing them and leaving them on a rural highway in eastern Utah.
A driver called police Thursday morning to report seeing the animals being tossed out of an older, tan-colored car on state Route 88, about 17 miles south of Vernal. When animal control officers arrived, the kittens were dead, said Christina Williams, director of the Uintah Animal Control and Shelter Special Service District.
Williams said the cats, estimated to be 7 weeks old, likely died on impact or shortly after. She was not sure whether they were male or female.
Photos from the scene show two of the fluffy white animals on their sides in the road.
Police in eastern Utah are trying to find the car, but they don't know how many people were inside, or their possible ages or genders.
"There could be a zillion older model tan cars out here," Williams said. The driver who called police did not manage to record a license plate number.
"This is horrible. Most people that want to get rid of kittens alive just take them out to the dump and turn them loose" or let them out on a farm, Williams continued. "This is a higher mindset of cruelty."
Animals are often abandoned on the side of the road, but there generally are no witnesses, she said. The behavior fits a felony charge of intentional animal cruelty, she added.
"You have to prove intent when you're charging cruelty, and intent is throwing them out the window. That's not an accident."