'We're devastated': Kitten stolen from Hull RSPCA centre
JUST four weeks old, Lottie the tabby kitten captivated all those who saw her at the RSPCA rescue shelter.
Andy Dibble and fiancée Kayleigh Browne were excited when they turned up at the Clough Road centre in west Hull to visit the kitten they had reserved the previous day.
But they were shocked to discover Lottie's cage empty, prompting fears she had been stolen.
"We are absolutely devastated, said Andy. "We had been really looking forward to taking Lottie home with us.
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"She was nowhere to be found and after some in-house inquiries, it was decided she must have been stolen.
"A lot of other couples were interested in adopting Lottie – she's so lovely.
"There have been quite a few tears in our house over this, I can tell you."
Andy and Kayleigh had visited the RSPCA centre on Saturday afternoon and immediately fell in love with the tabby kitten, which they photographed using Andy's mobile phone.
IT co-ordinator Andy and his fiancee, who live in Driffield, said: "We visited the centre at about noon on Sunday to see Lottie again.
"We had filled in all the paper on Saturday and were deemed suitable to adopt Lottie.
"We adopted our other cat, Carrie, from the same centre 18 months ago, so the home visit check had been done.
"We knew it was going to be a few weeks before we could take Lottie home with us. She needed to have all her vaccinations and put on weight.
"But we had decided to take along some of Carrie's toys on Sunday. We thought Lottie would like them."
Andy said he is angry anyone would steal a pet – especially as the kitten was so young and being cared for by RSPCA staff and volunteers.
"There was a high level of interest from a couple of other potential new owners," he said.
"We heard one guy had rung the centre and told them he wanted Lottie to give to his wife for her birthday.
"But we had beaten everyone to the post by reserving her. This may have angered someone enough to decide they would just take her.
"This has devastated me and my fiancée. It sounds daft, but cats are like our children."
Andy and Kayleigh were told Lottie was from a litter of four found dumped in a box outside the RSPCA centre.
"Whoever has stolen her is extremely selfish," said Andy. "There's a reason why RSPCA staff do not allow four-week-old kittens to be adopted.
"They need to be vaccinated and spayed. They also need to put on weight."
Alison Ripley, general manager of RSPCA Hull and East Riding District Branch Animal Centre, said: "This kitten has already been through a lot and now this.
"She was found by our vet on the way into work, dumped on our doorstep along with her three brothers, last Wednesday.
"She is only about four weeks old and far too young to be away from her mother, which wouldn't normally happen until eight weeks.
"Fortunately, she is eating solid food but clearly requires extra care and attention given her age.
"On top of this, she could be ill as we have an outbreak of cat flu at the centre at the moment."
Alison urged whoever has Lottie to be on the look-out for symptoms of the virus.
Anyone with any information about Lottie's whereabouts should call the centre on 01482 341331.