One of the most fascinating parts of my job is the diversity of things I get to cover during any given week.
For example, in the last several days I’ve written about the City of Yankton’s concerns about low flows along the Missouri River and how that will affect its water treatment system, I visited with local law enforcement about their 2012 crime stats and I learned way more about how county property taxes are calculated than I ever imagined I would need to know. (My guess is the unfolding drama at the Yankton County Government Center will require me to learn a lot more before it’s finished.)
But on Friday, I got to write about a cat rescue.
It has a bit of mystery to it, and a mostly happy ending, so I thought you might enjoy it.
The best part? Yankton Deputy Fire Chief Larry Nickles supplied me with photos!
The story was published in today’s Press & Dakotan:
Emergency responders avoided a “cat”-astrophe Friday when they rescued a feline frozen to a pond on
Yankton’s western edge.
A report was received at 9:42 a.m. of a cat that was iced to the pond at Avera Sacred Heart Majestic Bluffs along West 11th Street.
“The caller did not know how long the cat had been there,” Yankton Deputy Fire Chief Larry Nickles said. “It was frozen down by its tail.”
The cat was stuck to ice a few feet away from open water.
The Yankton Fire Department brought a ladder to use as a bridge to reach the cat from the rocky shore. A Yankton Search and Rescue member with protective gear made the trek to the cat in case the ice collapsed.
“The cat got a little excited when the ladder got close, and she started running in circles,” Nickles said.
The Search and Rescue member had to chisel the cat’s tail out of the ice. A small blanket was placed over her during the extraction process.
“They put her in a pet carrier and brought her back to shore,” Nickles said. “She didn’t struggle at all.
“We have no clue why she was out there,” he added. “She had been there long enough that there was an indentation in the ice where she had been sitting.”
The cat was taken to the Yankton Veterinary Clinic by Animal Control Officer Lisa Brasel. She said staff was waiting with heating pads and a warm towel.
“The cat has some severe frost bite, and the veterinarian was not sure it will be able to keep its tail,” Brasel stated.
Officials believe the cat may be someone’s pet because it appeared to be well fed. It is white with blue eyes.
Brasel said Heartland Humane Society agreed to take the cat into its care once it leaves the veterinarian’s office.
The incident was the first rescue operation of the year for first responders, Nickles noted.
He said the department is occasionally called out for animal rescues. Besides cats, iguanas and cockatoos are among the other types of animals that have been saved from potentially perilous situations.
Friday’s operation took about 20 minutes, and Nickles said it was kept in perspective. Officials didn’t respond with emergency lights, and every precaution was taken to avoid putting a person in danger.
“We did it right and didn’t get anyone hurt,” Nickles said.