I found this story on the ASPCA website, and it has a happy ending.
One day, Kathryn Splittstoeser got a call from her daughter-in-law crying and saying children were carrying dead kittens in cereal boxes and asking neighbors to bury them in their yard. Kathryn got more information on the case and went to talk to the childrens' parents. No one was home when she went there, but many kittens were running around. Many had long, matted fur and were filthy. They had no access to fur or water. Kathryn called the local vet, and was thanked in a phone call and told the kittens were up for adoption. She, of course, adopted one and named it Sassy.
The beginning is sad, but the ending is happy. The kittens didn't suffer anymore, and that's what's important.