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Two kittens are lucky to be alive after they were dumped in a kerbside recycling bin and taken to a Canberra recycling facility.
Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury said it was lucky the furry duo wasn't crushed inside the recycling truck or at Hume's Materials Recovery Facility.
Staff spotted the kittens inside a box on Tuesday afternoon as the object was making its way through the recycling process.
"Luckily they were found and removed from the facility before they were seriously hurt or killed," Mr Rattenbury said.
"It is hard to believe that the two kittens have survived the journey from a kerbside recycling bin all the way to the facility in Hume as all garbage and recycling materials are compressed inside the collection vehicles."
Mr Rattenbury said the kittens were unharmed despite the ordeal and were being cared for.
He said it was "horrible" to think someone had intentionally dumped the kittens in a bin.
"Unwanted cats and kittens may be surrendered to the RSPCA where they can be re-homed to a new family who will love and care for them," he said.
"Acts of violence towards animals, animal neglect and even psychological harm are all forms of animal cruelty."
RSPCA chief executive Tammy Ven Dange said the shelter was inundated with 335 unwanted puppies and 1159 unwanted kittens last financial year.
"At the moment, we are completely full of unwanted kittens and puppies again," she said.
"There's an easy way to fix this issue by owners getting their pets desexed. Not only will this reduce the number of unwanted animals in our community, it also decreases the risk of future health issues and can help ... with behavioural problems.
"Our RSPCA ACT vet clinic has payment plans available to suit any budget. So, there really is no good excuse for an owner to allow their pets to have unwanted offspring."
Mr Rattenbury said pet owners were responsible for desexing and microchipping their animals.
"Desexing your cat is essential in the ACT to reduce the number of neglected and abandoned cats," he said.
"In the ACT it is compulsory to desex your cat unless it is under three months old, was born prior to June, 2001 or you have a special permit.
"In addition to desexing, all cats in the ACT must be microchipped. Microchipping is an effective way for animal shelters and vets to identify lost dogs and cats for quick return to their owners."
Animal cruelty cases can be reported to Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or RSPCA ACT on 6287 8100.