|The Saga of Kringle the Cat|
|Written by Janet Goodman, BT Contributor|
Miami Shores Public Works rescues tortured cat
“How could someone do something like this to an animal?” asks Miami Shores Parks and Streets supervisor Mike Skofstad.
He’s clearly still emotional as he recounts the story to the BT about his Public Works crew finding a cat somehow alive after suffering in an animal carrier stuffed inside a tied black trash bag and discarded by the side of the road.
Just before noon on December 13, 2016, the maintenance workers were patrolling for debris and roadside trash along the east side of NW 2nd Avenue between 99th Street and 100th Street, when his employee Antonio thought he heard a baby’s cries coming from a plastic bag. Skofstad came to the scene and ripped open the bag to find a cat covered in feces and urine, trapped in a small kennel crate -- possibly for days.
“I tried to give it water,” recalls Skofstad, but the animal was disoriented and too weak to drink. It stumbled around as he called Angela Dorney, interim director of Miami Shores Recreation, who put him in touch with Regina Vlasek, local animal advocate and the founder of Saving Sage Animal Rescue.
Vlasek knew right away that the gray-and-black tabby wasn’t feral. The friendly young male had been someone’s pet. She was able to catch it with only a towel and took it back to her base of operation at her Jolly Mutt grooming shop. There she worked to stabilize the feline by administering 50 ccs of subcutaneous fluid and Nutri-Cal supplement. After a bath, the kitten started to purr from the warmth of her hairdryer and a heating pad.
Later that same day, the newly named Kringle was transported to a clinic in Davie. According to Daniel Rayment, veterinary practice manager for Pet Express Animal Hospital, Dr. Molly Foreman treated the kitten, whose age is between six and nine months, for dehydration, heat exhaustion, and early signs of pneumonia. Kringle was wormed and X-rayed, treated with antibiotics, bronchodilators, and nebulizers. The cat was expected to be released by December 26 with a hospital bill of $700. Fundraising for the medical costs is taking place on Saving Sage Animal Rescue’s Facebook page.
After being discharged from the vet, Kringle took two weeks to gain strength for his neutering surgery, says Vlasek. “He’s now ready for adoption,” adding, “I love him.”
Kringle’s story has been covered by Miami’s NBC6 longtime criminal justice reporter Claudia DoCampo, as well as People Magazine online. “I haven’t seen a case like Kringle the cat, but I have seen other cruelty cases involving farm animals and dogs at the Miami-Dade criminal courthouse,” DoCampo tells the BT. She has reported on illegal slaughterhouse abuses, and lobbies her station to bring animal cases to viewers. A rescuer of several dogs, she notes that animal cruelty is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5000 fine.
Skofstad also has never seen an animal situation quite like this before. “Parks and Streets division of Miami Shores Public Works once found a cat alive in a stormwater drain,” he says. Usually when they find an animal by the side of the road, it is dead, the result of being hit by a vehicle -- an accident and not an intentional crime like this.
Vlasek remembers a bag of newborn kittens found years ago at a Miami Beach grocery store, and a recent box of kittens discovered by a dumpster behind NE 2nd Avenue. She theorizes that Kringle is probably the victim of an angry spouse seeking revenge, or an owner incensed by the spray of an unneutered male cat.
“Trying to understand why something was done sometimes can lead to who did the crime,” says Chief Kevin Lystad of Miami Shores Police Department, “but the reason for this crime is confounding. Was it a juvenile? Was it someone who was angry? Was it someone who couldn’t afford to care for the cat? Why didn’t they just take it to a shelter instead?”
According to Lystad, there have been no significant leads. A detective went house to house in the neighborhood, but four or five homes are vacant, limiting potential witnesses. No clues were gained from area surveillance cameras. The carrier material was not conducive to lifting fingerprints and the bag was too contaminated by feces and urine. Without a witness coming forward, there’s little more the police can do. “The cat can’t tell us who did it,” says the chief.
In the meantime, the local pet-owner community postings on Saving Sage Animal Rescue’s Facebook page voice shock and outrage at Kringle’s condition and the level of abuse involved. They express hope that authorities can catch the person who committed the crime.
Volume 15, Issue 1, March 2017
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