LACEY – A six-month-old kitten could have ended up crushed in a garbage truck and dumped in a landfill if a resident hadn't noticed the carrier left next to trash cans on Wednesday.

The Popcorn Park Zoo is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who left the kitten in the carrier.

According to the zoo's Facebook page, the cat was found by the owner of a home on Barnegat Beach Drive in the Waretown section of Ocean Township.

The carrier was turned in a way that someone passing by would not see the cat inside.

The zoo's animal control officer retrieved the cat, which a regular red collar and a flea collar. The kitten had not been microchipped with identification.

"You'll have to excuse the bluntness of this, but what the hell is wrong with people?" the zoo said on its Facebook page. "What are people thinking when they toss unwanted pets away like garbage."

"People do stuff like that. How can you and not think about it the next day and the day after and the day after," Executive Director John Bergman told New Jersey 101.5.

Bergman said that the reward is being offered to "get someone to say something."

The kitten has been named Cinnamon because he smelled like Christmas when he arrived at the zoo. Cinnamon is described "extremely sweet, friendly, and playful."

The zoo asked anyone with information about Cinnamon to call 609-693-1900.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ