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'Baby boxes are for newborns' Carmel Fire Dept. reminds public after someone leaves kittens in box

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Posted at 2:52 PM, Dec 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-23 11:54:29-05

CARMEL — The fire department in Carmel is reminding the public that the Safe Haven Baby Box installed at the station is only to be used for newborn infants after someone left two cats inside the box on Friday.

Just after 4 p.m. the alarms sounded at the Safe Haven Baby Box at Carmel Station 45 and alerted crews that something had been left inside, according to a post from the Carmel Fire Department. "Within 60 seconds firefighters were at the baby box finding a bag with a note taped to it."

Firefighters opened the box to find a small pet carrier and two kittens along with a note explaining that their owner had passed away and there was no one to take care of them.

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"Although the Safe Haven Baby Box is not designed or intended to take animals, had this been a newborn it shows how quick and efficient multiple agencies are with handling a Safe Haven Baby Box activation," the fire department posted. "The Safe Haven Baby Box is only for newborns."

The box was cleaned and disinfected and crews did an extra test to make sure that the system would continue to work as well as it had for the kittens dropped off.

There are currently 17 baby boxes installed across the state of Indiana.

The goal of Safe Haven Baby Boxes is to make it so mothers have a safe place to surrender their newborns anonymously.

Baby boxes are safe incubators that have alarm systems, so 911 is notified as soon as a baby is placed inside. The baby boxes also have heating and cooling features.

READ | Newborn surrendered in Safe Haven Baby Box in northern Indiana just 30 says after it opened

Indiana's Safe Haven law allows people to anonymously surrender their healthy infants at any fire station in the state without fear of criminal prosecution.

The Safe Haven Baby Box organization also staffs a 24-hour hotline (1-866-99BABY1), so parents can talk to trained professionals about possibly surrendering their baby. You can also visit the Safe Haven Baby Box website for more information including locations.

LIST | Find a Safe Haven Baby Box Near You

Safe Haven currently has baby boxes installed in the following areas in Indiana:

  • Woodburn, Indiana
  • Chesterton, Indiana
  • Michigan City, Indiana (2)
  • Carmel, Indiana
  • Decatur Township, Indiana
  • North Vernon, Indiana
  • Mount Vernon
  • Hammond, Indiana
  • Seymour, Indiana
  • Syracuse, Indiana
  • Warsaw, Indiana
  • East Chicago, Indiana
  • Crown Point, Indiana
  • Angola, Indiana
  • Fortville, Indiana
  • Frankfort, Indiana

For more information on surrendering your unwanted pet, or to adopt one of the Baby Box cats: Humane Society for Hamilton County.

RELATED | Indiana's Safe Haven Baby Boxes are saving — and changing — lives