CALIFORNIA – A cat’s anguished cries luckily led firefighters to a storm drain in Santa Rosa’s devastated Fountaingrove neighborhood, where the terribly burned feline was rescued Friday afternoon five days after an inferno leveled the area.
Two Marin Humane animal service officers managed to pluck the crying cat from the dark drain and whisked it off for treatment at a local veterinary hospital.
“We’re extremely proud of them and we feel honored that Sonoma County called on us to come up and help,” stated Lisa Bloch, spokeswoman for the Novato-based nonprofit.
Marin Humane has provided three animal service officers to support Sonoma County’s effort in order to locate, rescue and care for animals affected by the wildfires, which have killed 19 people and caused in upwards of $1.2 billion in damage in Sonoma County alone.
Firefighters thankfully heard the frightened feline’s meows coming from a storm drain on Wedgewood Way, not far at all from the site of what had been the city’s newest fire station. There is not a home standing in the area.
Animal service officers Rachel Dalton and Chelsea Hayes responded at approximately 3 p.m. and dropped a ladder about 8 feet into a storm drain beneath the sidewalk. Hayes, who is strong but slight, managed to shimmy down into the narrow cavern with a flashlight and small blue pet carrier.
Dalton handed down some food and Hayes was then able to coax the injured animal into the crate. Talking to it very gently, the officers attached a rope to the cage and hauled the cat up out of the storm drain to safety.
“It’s bad,” stated Dalton of the cat’s burns.
The pair called a supervisor who promptly advised them to bring the cat to a local vet for immediate treatment.
Dehydrated and hungry, the cat was taken over to Sonoma County Animal Services for needed treatment, Bloch said. It will soon be checked for a tracking chip to see if its owner can be identified.
When the fires hit this past week, Marin Humane made room for displaced pets by transferring all of the animals at its shelter to other locations, Bloch said.
To date it has housed about 380 pets of evacuees, including dogs, cats, birds, tortoises, and chickens, for free, she stated. Some evacuees have since been reunited with their animals, she said.
“Pets are like family, and for people who lose everything, to be reunited with their pets or to know that their pets are safe, can make all the difference,” Bloch concluded.
Watch the dramatic rescue video just below!