Volume 81, Number 6 | July 7 - 13, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Online drama of cat river rescue totally washed me out

By Dottie Wilson

“Skipper” the cat after being rescued from a barge in the East River this past weekend. >>

Pecking through links on Facebook over the Fourth of July weekend, I initially skipped over one of those silly items about an unfortunate and/or missing animal that came with an adorable “pretend” voice written by a human.

No way was I going to get involved with another cute, online, escaped baboon, monkey or snake escapade. Writing witty comments on walls, following kooky updates and “liking” this type of social media was, as Betty White said, a huge waste of time. But because this real, daytime drama was brought to my attention by a blogger in the East Village and was about a cat, I couldn’t resist.

The page was called, “Cat Stranded on East River Barge.” At first, I couldn’t understand why most of the people on my computer screen were freaking out about getting the Coast Guard involved. Surely this organization, or the Fire Department, could help rescue the cat, and were far better equipped and trained than civilians. Several of these animal lovers and/or activists were determined to risk their own lives to save the poor thing, and fearful of getting arrested for trespassing.

Rescuers are on the barge looking for the cat. They are afraid the coast guard is on the way and will shut them out and arrest them. Can someone get over there to stand watch for the coast guard in front of the barge????

It just didn’t make sense, so I made what I thought was a useful comment on one of their posts. Immediately afterward, “Cat Stranded on East River Barge” sent me a rather offensive “notification”: Do you live in NYC? I was like, WTF? Of course I do, long-time East Village! CSERB and its followers went on to explain. Below is a variety of condensed comments posted over a period of days:

The point is not to alert the ACC via the Coast Guard. Cats are killed by the dozens every night at the ACC (Animal Care and Control). The coast guard is not responsible for saving animals, but they are responsible for guarding ships in the bay. So the rescuers are technically trespassing. FDNY flatly refused to help both yesterday and today. So did the police dept. I am sure that the coast guard will only hurt this effort rather then help. I don’t know why you think otherwise. This is not a movie. Once ACC takes the cat — it goes through the system — where it’s liable to get sick and mistakingly [sic] killed. Do you understand?

Doh! I continued to read other comments about the evil-sounding organization as events unfolded. One post that said if you even call them to follow up on a situation, they become hostile and get pissed off. On account of the holiday, I made yet another proclamation/comment:

This sounds so Orwellian/scary. Just exactly where is this place, who the hell is this staff?! What “system” would kill an innocent, RESCUED (not feral) animal; if they are funded by tax dollars, Kaboom.

Reply: It is Orwellian. it’s called NY ACC. And yes they would kill a friendly cat. They killed about 100 in the last week alone — many kittens included.

Meanwhile, other people, some ignorant and/or confused like me — and one mentally unstable-sounding individual who twice asked me if he or she could “friend” me — were all trying to help. And then things started to get way too intense.

Who called Animal Control?

Oops I am sorry if I got you people in trouble! I did not mean to! I hope you save the cat before they get there!!!! Again please accept my apologies!!!!! If you get arrested I will call the media if that helps!

Call the Coast Guard back and tell them you had the wrong information.

Say it swam to land and was saved!

Animal control will be a sure death for the cat. Right now hardly any of the cats are getting out alive at the NY ACC. We’re trying to find out whether the ASPCA would hand the cat over to the ACC... Don’t want this to turn out worse for the cat then it already is.

The cat comes out and meows for help when someone approaches.

We need a cat trap down here asap!

This was just terrible. My holiday spirit was totally shot. Why did I always have to get involved? Simply sitting at a desk, I was exhausted and drained, having spent hours contacting various news organizations. (Many people on the CSERB page felt media coverage would prevent human arrest/animal death.)

When would I ever learn? It was only last summer that I got mixed up in a completely different animal situation involving feral cats, politics, hippies, Yippies, urine, blood, sweat, tears and pot. Having just read a book called “A Natural History of the Senses,” by Diane Ackerman, this too was an overwhelming experience, to say the least. What the H.E. Double L was going on?

At last, the cat was rescued! Yet the question remained: Was it “saved”? The comments on CSERB still didn’t sound all that great.

An ACC worker just showed up.

Ok, hold off the celebrations. ACC is taking him.

The ACC worker helped us catch him and therefore by DoH [Department of Health] policy, he had to go to shelter to be checked out and be put on stray hold. He will also have to be neutered and vaccinated before they will let xyz adopt him. We went up to the shelter and are all keeping an eagle’s eye on him. ACC knows the press is coming about his rescue.

It’s too bad they got involved. Based on the “Board Meeting” last week, I don’t believe they’re too worried about what the press or public thinks. 

The cat must go to the ACC and be checked out and be placed on stray hold. We have all set in place for xyz to adopt him. We have a rescue aware of him in case anything gets screwy. And we will be there Tues morning to get adoption process rolling. We are on this like white on rice people.

The Daily News is here. Cat will then go to Manhattan ACC. We are going to follow ACC van to shelter.

He ate wet food before going to shelter.

I had a fitful sleep, no doubt dreaming of bureaucratic, stupid, crazy people, traumatized/desperate pets (and that scary/dangerous particle collider in Europe). The next morning, I read all about it — and in between the lines — in the News: “Skipper” sittin’ pretty after stranded cat is rescued from East River barge. This is similar to playing casino games in Cool Cat Casino sites from here http://www.coolcatcasinous.com/ in cool cat casino online sites. The oil-stained kitty, first spotted on the construction barge Friday, was found by a five-member search party, who shimmied across a floating plank and scaled a ladder. This was fantastic news, right? Another day passed.


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