A woman who abandoned two cats zipped inside a suitcase Monday on the porch of the Franklin County Animal Shelter has not come forward despite pleas by the shelter.

The cats were left around 11:30 a.m., when the temperature was in the upper teens. The Farmington shelter opened to the public at noon.

A year-old cat was found zipped into the large compartment of the suitcase, and a 5-month-old kitten was found zipped into the bag’s small side compartment, Kelsey Cler, website and volunteer coordinator for the shelter, said Wednesday.

The shelter posted a notice about the cats, along with a photo, on its Facebook page Monday, and while the post has generated outrage and concern for the well-being of the pets, no one has said they know the woman or the cats.

Monday’s Facebook post, which had been shared 199 times and garnered 84 comments as of Wednesday afternoon, was not meant to shame the woman who did it, according to Cler, but rather serve as a public service announcement of how to surrender pets to the shelter properly.

“It wasn’t a witch hunt or anything,” Cler said. “Even if (the woman) does step forward, it would just be a conversation.”

Cler said a person in the parking lot waiting for the shelter to open Monday saw the woman drive up to the front of the building in a bright red SUV, put the suitcase on the porch and drive away.

The woman who abandoned the cats was wearing a beanie-type hat and had glasses, according to the woman who saw her.

The woman who saw the woman leave the bag saw a compartment of the bag move as she knocked on the door of the shelter to alert the staff. The cats were outside for five or 10 minutes, Cler said.

As of Wednesday, the cats were healthy, Cler said. The shelter thinks they are mother and kitten.

“They’re doing great here. They are a little shy,” Cler said.

The shelter accepts surrendered pets when there is room. Last year the shelter accepted 299 surrendered cats, a high for the shelter. There is a $30 fee for surrendering a cat. To surrender a dog there is a $50 fee. Also, the dog must pass a temperament test. Money generated from the surrender fee is used to spay or neuter the pets.

Cler said people often try to avoid the surrender fee by abandoning their pets outside the shelter, as in Monday’s incident. In the past, a dog has been left chained to the shelter’s front porch and a box of kittens was found left at the end of the driveway during a blizzard. If a person cannot afford the surrender fee, the shelter will work with them, she said.

“We understand that people get in financial situations and cannot afford to care for their pets. We will work with people,” Cler said. “We definitely don’t encourage leaving them outside.”

That could lead to a pet’s death, as was the case Jan. 25 in Lewiston after a dog was abandoned at the Androscoggin County Humane Society and three days later was struck by a car and killed. In that case, the Lewiston shelter released a security camera video of the person leaving the dog, which was shared on Facebook and by local news media and was viewed more than 350,000 times with 50,000 people commenting, including some from other countries.

Lewiston police haven’t released the name of the woman who allegedly abandoned the Labrador retriever-husky mix, but have said they plan to issue a court summons charging her with abandonment of an animal that resulted in the animal’s death, a class C crime.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.