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Frostbitten cat found abandoned at Linden Animal Shelter

This is profile view of Morgan's face.  Morgan was found suffering from frostbite at the Linden Animal Shelter, NJ, in February 2014.  The tips of her ears sloughed from the frostbite.
This is profile view of Morgan's face. Morgan was found suffering from frostbite at the Linden Animal Shelter, NJ, in February 2014. The tips of her ears sloughed from the frostbite.
Photo by Dr. Karen Negrin, DVM, ACO/ACI

Meet Morgan. Morgan is a young female tortoise-shell cat that was found in a box by the Linden Animal Control Officers (ACOs) on February 6, 2014. On February 8, the ACOs notified Kathy Pancila a volunteer of Friends of Linden Animal Shelter (FOLAS) about this cat. FOLAS took custody of the cat on February 11. The cat was very thin but had a good appetite. The tips of the ears were black and crinkly due to necrosis. The tips of the ears sloughed off a few days later. While caring for the cat, FOLAS noticed that the cat was limping. The Supervising Veterinarian was notified and the cat was examined. The Supervising veterinarian noticed that the pads on the cat's feet were also sloughing. There were also lesions on the feet. The necrosis of the ears, which left the cat with ears that look rounded at the tips, and the lesions of the legs/foot pads were determined by the veterinarian to be consistent with frostbite.

Morgan, a frostbitten cat found at the Linden Animal Control Shelter, NJ, in February 2014
Photo by Dr. Karen Negrin, DVM, ACO/ACI

Although many people believe that animals can survive outside in the cold, they cannot in extreme weather without proper shelter. Many feral cats survive if they are fortunate enough to find a heated garage, car engine, or other heat source to keep warm. They also need proper sources of water and food which may be scarce outside. Domesticated cats cannot survive the extreme weather outside for long periods of time. Morgan was suffering from frostbite. Common signs of frostbite include necrosis of the tips of the ears, tail, face, footpads, legs and genitalia of male dogs. In extreme cases, animals can lose limbs, toes and the tips of the ears. Photos of Morgan have been included with this article in the slideshow.

The NJ Animal Cruelty Statute 4:22-17 was amended in August 2013 (called "Patrick's Law" regarding the young pitbull that was starved nearly to death and then thrown down a garbage chute in Newark in March 2011) to impose harsher fines for those that violate the statute. The wording was changed from "failing to provide proper food, water, shelter or protection from the weather" to "fail to provide necessary care" which would be left up to the discretion of a judge to define what necessary care would mean. The fines can range from $500 to $3,000 for a first offense, and/or imprisonment for up to 6 months. Subsequent offenses can range from $3,000 to $5,000. NJSA 4:22-20 covers the abandonment of a disabled animal to die in a public place. The fines can be up to a $1,000.

The NJ Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) has been informed of this case regarding Morgan and is asking for your help in finding the person who abandoned Morgan at the Linden Animal Shelter on February 6. Any information provided will be kept confidential. The SPCA hotline is 1-800-582-5979.

Other than the ear tips sloughing, Morgan appears to be in good health. She is sweet and affectionate. She will be spayed as soon as the veterinarian clears her of any potential life-threatening conditions. Once spayed, Morgan will be available for adoption through FOLAS. Anyone interested in adopting Morgan can contact FOLAS at (732) 388-6300.

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