Industrial loft buildings contain all sorts of strange nooks, giant pipes, and random ledges left over from the original factory or warehouse. The building where our loft is located is connected to the adjacent four-story building by an industrial catwalk. Under the catwalk are a variety of huge cast-iron pipes used for water supply and drainage.
For several days last week, we could hear the plaintive meowing of a cat. Despite investigating, we couldn't locate the cat. It turned out we couldn't find it because it was four stories above us stuck on top of a pipe under the catwalk. On the third day, someone realized where the cat was and called animal control. An attempt was made to use someone's boom lift to reach the cat, but it couldn't reach high enough. So the animal control officer called in a special team that is intended for just such a scenario - the Los Angeles Small Animal Rescue Team (SmART). The SmART team is an amazing group of volunteers from the Animal Control division who are trained in rescuing animals from difficult and precarious situations such as cliffs, trees, sewers, and swiftwater.
|The SmART Team|
The SmART team arrived in a special van filled with all manner of rescue equipment. Because the cat was four stories up and unreachable from the surface of the catwalk, the team donned their rappelling gear complete with harnesses, helmets, ropes, carabiners, and orange rescue bags for storing the animal during the rope descent. A crowd gathered as night fell. The rescue team gathered on the catwalk and anchored themselves for the descent. Two team members, Annette and Sean, rappelled off the sides of the catwalk and positioned themselves on either side of the pipes. The cat began to meow ever louder as they approached and, when Annette called it towards her, it complied. Getting the cat into the bag, however, was not as easy since even a desperate cat fears the thought of a four-story drop. Finally, the cat was pried off the pipes, cinched it into the bag, and the rescuers lowered themselves to the ground to much applause. The cat was taken to the local animal shelter for rehydration and we were warned someone would need to claim the cat within 5 days. Fortunately for the cat, Spike, her owner was found and he retrieved her the next afternoon.
|The Catwalk Rescue|
Photo Credit: Vern Evans
|Team Members After the Rescue|
Annette (right) Got the Cat in the Bag
So, if you live in Los Angeles and need help rescuing a small animal from a precarious situation, the SmART team is the team to call. They are a fantastic group of people from the Animal Services division who volunteer to do this tough side job. They don't get hazard pay for putting themselves at risk and they pay for all the special equipment themselves. The service is entirely FREE, and there is always need for donations of rescue gear to help them do their job.
|Click here for List of Items Needed|