When I was a kid, one of the villains in comics was the Dog Catcher. I wasn’t sure what exactly he was doing, but I realized he was a mean old man.
However, they are no longer called dog catchers. They are now known as animal control officers, and they are neither mean nor old, and for the most part human. Two-thirds of the animal control officers at Oakland Animal Services – aka the town shelter – are women, and they’re actually a helpless animal’s best friend. I also know from personal experience. I’ve been feeding homeless cats in my neighborhood for a few years now, since I noticed two of them – an orange tabby male and a small calico female – were hanging out in my backyard. I named the female Little Calico and the male Charlie because he looked like a Charlie to me.
I called the Alameda Island Cat Resources and Adoption Rescue Group, and they sent a volunteer to my home to humane them. The cats were taken to a local veterinarian, who sterilized, vaccinated, dewormed and treated against fleas. Even though they were still young, they were already too old to be socialized and placed in âfureverâ homes. So they were sent back to my garden and I took over. It didn’t take long to know there had been a soft touch on 29th Street, and Little Calico and Charlie were soon joined by a dozen others, all starving for food, water and a drink. little love.
There was a black and white man waiting for me every morning outside my front door and a long haired black woman with piercing green eyes. The most recent addition was a skinny black and brown tabby female that stole my heart. I had been warned not to give them names because I shouldn’t get too attached, but she was so sweet. I started to call her Kitty.
I quickly understood why I had been warned, because the life expectancy of a homeless cat is only about two years. There are just too many dangers, including disease, cold, and a whole host of predators including eagles, hawks, hawks, owls, coyotes, and most dangerous of all, humans. Sure enough, one by one the cats stopped appearing. I haven’t seen Charlie or Little Calico in months, and can only assume they’re dead. Now I’m only three or four regulars.
I have never seen any of them die because cats are very good at hiding their pain, and they usually run away and die on their own. Last Friday, however, there was clearly something wrong with Kitty. She was hunched over, drooling and screaming in pain. She had no interest in food. All she wanted was for her suffering to be over. It was Friday night after closing time, so when I called Animal Services I heard a recording advising me to call Oakland Police. The dispatcher took my message and promised to deliver it, but said she didn’t know when it would be picked up – likely not until Monday.
Now I was in a panic. I couldn’t wait until the next morning, let alone Monday. Kitty was in agony, and she had lost so much weight in such a short time that it was obvious she had cancer. She didn’t fight me when I put her in a baby carrier and prepared to take her to an emergency vet to get rid of her misery as soon as possible.
At that point, a large van with an Oakland Animal Services sign pulled up and animal control officer Melinda Tierney got out. I entrusted Kitty to her, knowing that my night was about to get better and hers was about to get worse because she was the one who would have to perform the deed. Forty-five minutes later, she called me and said, âKitty crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I felt great sadness, but also great gratitude for his professionalism and kindness.
Like everything in Oakland these days, Animal Services is woefully underfunded, and they could do a lot more good if given the resources. If you would like to help out, a support group called Friends of Oakland Animal Services raises funds for the shelter and its activities, including free sterilization / sterilization services for Oakland residents’ pets, medical care from Oakland residents. emergency and specialized equipment needed for better animal care in the shelter, digital cameras to document cruelty cases and laser thermometers to determine temperatures inside parked cars.
Martin snapp can be contacted at [email protected]