Thomas Dock, CVJ, Vet. Technician  
Male, 55
Indianapolis, IN

Interests: animals, Reading (sci-fi and fantasy)
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No Help for Kitten Up Power Pole

Jan 28, 2010 - 11 comments

pet rescue

(WARNING - this story does not have a good outcome)

So I can't figure out what upsets me more about this story...maybe you can help me decide.

In Houston, a cat owner found that her kitten had scaled a power pole and wouldn't come down. Evidently the cat was stuck for about 47hours before she touched the high voltage wires and electrocuted herself.

The owner says that she called the police, fire, SPCA and electric companies and no one would help.

After seeing last week's daring rescue of an unknown dog by LA fire personnel, one would wonder why something similar couldn't have been done in less strenuous circumstances.

So...I am upset that the kitten died...that is just sad and unfortunate. But, what really gets to me is that there seems to be no where for a pet owner to turn in these types of situations. I can remember scaling the roof of a house to try and bring a cat down from a tree while I worked as a veterinary technician because of similar circumstances. (Actually...the receptionist who went with me saved the cat...I had on slick soled shoes and couldn't stand well on the roof).

What's worse, what if the owner, or one of her children attempted to climb the power pole to save the cat? When I first saw the story, that was my interpretation. I thought the owner had died trying to get the kitten down.

I am not sure what the answer is...we certainly can't have first responders tied up in situations that are not life-threatening to people, but if they won't help, what is a pet owner to do?

Seriously...what is the answer here?

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Avatar universal
by Alazure, Jan 28, 2010
Once when a our cat got up on top of the building we used a pole to get food to him, the only thing that can happen is to put food in a box, attach the box to a long stick, then the hungry cat will get in the box to get the food

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by Piparskeggr, Jan 28, 2010
Anita and I lived in Huber Heights, OH (just north of Dayton) when we were stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB from '91 - '96.  A cat had scaled a very tall tree in front of our house.  It had been chased there by a dog, which was roaming contrary to the town lease laws...

Animal control was more than happy to come and get the dog, which I had restrained: ticket + fine = intere$t.

No help for kitty.

After the cat had been up there for most of the day and after calling various folks one would expect to effect a rescue, I went to the local home improvement center, bought a tall ladder and managed to get the kitty down with the help of a neighbor who steadied the ladder for me.

He was wearing a collar, so I called his vet and was able to reunite "Sam" with his people.

I am not an animal rights advocate by any means, but @#$%, we humans created these beings in the image and shape we wanted.  We have a responsibility to treat them humanely and to safeguard their lives...I guess the nice stories of a pet rescue don't mean anything to "corporates" of all stripes anymore.

As to the poor kitty up the power pole, in my younger days I would likely have climbed the pole myself (I'm an experienced Combat Engineer), but now, I'm not physically up to that.

My sympathy to kitty's people.


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by Quixotic1, Jan 28, 2010
I had a similar situation where the stray kitty had climbed about 25 feet up onto an architectural "feature" of my townhouse.  No police or fire would take the call.  I could hear the cries for about 36 hours.

They recommended that I call an arborist who have the equipment to deal high in trees and such.  I did call the arborist and they would hyave come if there had been access for their heavy truck.  So for some places an arborist might solve the problem.  

In the end, one of the maintanence men brought out their 20 ft ladder and got the little one down - against management's orders.


It's great to hear these stories of how everyday citizens go out of their way to help our pets.  Pip...you said it best, we do owe it to our pets to safeguard them.  

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by berrywoo, Jan 30, 2010
why the f*** are the cat's owner letting the cat outside? Cats are domesticated animals and shouldn't be allowed outdoors where they are at greater risk for illness, getting run over by cars, attacked by other animals, etc.
I feel sorry for the poor little kitty.
Now, if the cat was a stray...than that;s a different matter...someone should have helped to rescue the animal. We live in society of dog lovers and unfortunately our feline friends suffer the consequences.
Either way...que lastima!

Avatar universal
by des900, Feb 01, 2010
Its very sad to see a dead kitten, i too lost one.

Avatar universal
by Mama2B152, Feb 01, 2010
My cat actually just recently did the same thing. She was missing for an entire day before we finally found her stuck in between the transformer and the pole down the street from us. I too called the animal control at the P.D. and the Fire Department. I was told by the fire department "Sorry, we can't do anything about a cat." Luckily, I know almost all of the local P.D. so after pressing them for some more information they sent out the animal control officer and told me to call all of the local electric companies. I called two of them and both told me that they could send someone out but that it might be hours. The animal control officer was wonderful, but couldn't do anything to get our cat down b/c he was afraid of electrocuting himself. He stayed with me for four hours before one of the electric companies FINALLY sent someone out. We worked for over an hour to free her. The man from the electric company used a long pole to push and pull her down until she was low enough for him to go and get her with his ladder. She jumped from the top of the pole down to the ground as soon as she saw him coming for her. Amazingly, she was fine. A little bruised and pretty scared...but overall okay. If anything like this ever happens to your pet, please call the electric companies right away...they took forever to get there, but they were wonderful once they finally arrived!

What a great story Mama2B!!  It warms my heart to know that folks in your area were willing to help!

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by peekawho, Feb 02, 2010
We need to implement a "Pet 911" service.   Think about it.

There are plenty of people, well educated people, who are out of work right now.  They could be screened and trained to work in some of these rescue situations, with appropriate equipment and skills and under the guidance of veterinarians or skilled Techs.  

Veterinary EMTs, if you will.  

Unfortunately, the question is...will people pay for this service, and how much?  

Years ago, I had a 90 # Dobe who broke his leg while running outside in the woods, late at night.  I was alone.  I had to locate him in the dark, run back to the house and frantically try to find something (wound up using a blanket) to drag him out of the woods, got badly bitten in the process, and painfully load him up in the car and drive him an hour to an emergency clinic.  
Imagine if a Pet911 service were available.  I would have paid anything to have avoided the trauma to both of us from the ordeal.  

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by ginger899, Feb 02, 2010
Peek's idea is a great idea.....
I hate this story It's too sad. Pity someone couldn't have got a long pole up there with a grasper on it, (before he touched the live wire) hooked the little critter down, and had a big fat duvet for him to fall on.......

Avatar universal
by mkh1480, Feb 03, 2010
This story is getting a great deal of followup on a linkedin group I belong to, Pet Friendly.  The story was picked up and reported there.  I sent a letter to the Houston SPCA an got a really lame response.  They did nothing to help either.  I recently sent a letter to Centerpointe Energy upon whose pole the kitten was stuck.  They absolutely REFUSED to help stating that by law, they could not turn off the power and it was too dangerous to send someone up the pole.  What?  Is this not their job to know how to work around electrical poles?  The kicker is, that this cat eventually managed to turn the power off to the neighborhood anyway when he fried himself.  I am awaiting a reply from the Centerpointe PR firm.  I'm encouraging anyone who has the time to respond on these boards/blogs to invest another few minutes and send off your letters questioning this "response" from HSPCA and Centerpointe.  You can google them and find their contact info.  The only way to change the attitudes toward animals is to advocate for them.  They can't blog or make a phone call, we have to do it for them.  It won't help the kitten who died, but perhaps it will help the next one.  Please take the time to bombard these two businesses with your disgust over their lack of response or humanity.  
Marcia Hale
Boise, ID

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