On Friday, June 1, an ACO in Hernando Co Florida picked up an 8 week old kitten in a trap and loaded him onto his truck. Upon returning to the pound, ACO Michael Steele parked his truck in the sun and went home for the weekend, leaving the kitten inside.
On Sunday, another ACO, Linda Christian, happened to be passing by the vehicle and heard the kitten screaming. She opened the box to find the kitten in distress. Although he was severely dehydrated, he seemed to respond well to being given moist food and water. ACO Christian later gave him a children’s electrolyte drink to help the kitten recover.
“I am just relieved I chanced to be at Animal Services today,” she wrote. “Otherwise, the outcome may have turned out differently.”
Yeah, whew, totally.
Disciplinary action was taken against Mr. Steele:
“The kitten has since responded well to re-hydration and being provided food,” Mike Nickerson, the county’s public safety director, wrote on the discipline form. “However, the fact that the kitten survived does not undo the fact that the action of accidentally leaving a cat inside a hot truck, without food or water, is a form of animal abuse.”
And for this animal abuse, Mr. Steele received one day off without pay and a warning:
Steele was put on notice that any additional suffering of animals because of his negligence would be grounds for additional disciplinary action and possible termination.
Gosh, that sounds seewious. I hope they don’t break out the red pen!
As for the baby cat that we were all so relieved to hear was recovering, the pound kept him alive for a week and then killed him for being feral. I wonder if Hernando Co has heard of this newfangled program that ordinary citizens are utilizing in their homes – without the benefit of training or a taxpayer funded salary – to tame feral kittens? It’s called Patience and Petting.
Alternatively, if there is just no room in the budget for patience and petting at Hernando Co, they could have considered putting the kitten’s picture in the paper and asking if anyone wanted to adopt Baby Miracle Kitty. I bet they’d have had lots of adopters applying. Of course, that would mean somebody at the pound might have to do their job so perhaps that was not an option.