A homeless woman was at the back gate pleading to get into the animal shelter in the early morning hours. She was holding a young kitten who appeared disoriented and in distress. The kennel attendant was at the shelter doing the early cleaning, so he hesitated to let her in since the shelter was closed. When he saw the listless kitten he knew he had to help.

The woman’s voice cracked as she frantically told the story of how she rescued the kitten from further harm. A few hours earlier, two men found the kitten in Central Park, the park across the street from the shelter. They were reportedly under a tree using methamphetamine when they noticed the cat. It was unclear if the kitten had been abandoned or wandered to the park on his own. Either way, the kitten had no one to protect him. The men cornered the kitten and started using him as a toy. Throwing him back and forth like a ball in a game of catch, the terrified kitten was hurt every time he was thrown. The kitten was crying in pain and the woman knew that she needed to intervene even if her own safety was at risk. Acting like superwoman, she yelled at them to stop, picked up the cat and raced to the Pasadena Humane Society for help.

The shelter staffer brought the kitten immediately to the society’s veterinary clinic. Often acting like a trauma center, the clinic is prepared for whatever emergencies come its way. Jumping to action the veterinary team stabilized the kitten and did a full exam. The kitten was twitching with muscle spasms taking control of his body. The veterinarian assumed he had been exposed to meth and treated him accordingly. The staff watched him very closely the next few days and were overcome with joy as his symptoms seemed to subside.

After the immediate symptoms were addressed and the cat was calm, the clinic did a full x-ray to determine if there were any injuries. Unfortunately, they discovered that the kitten has a serious fracture in his left leg that will require major surgery. He was immediately placed in the Humane Society’s Miracle Fund, a fund designed to raise money for animals that need extra care and support for their injuries. He will be receiving a specialty surgery in the coming weeks. Joey, as the shelter named him, is currently resting comfortably and recovering from the traumatic events that occurred. He is expected to have a full recovery. The Pasadena Humane Society’s field service division is currently investigating the situation to determine if we can find the individuals involved.

The story above is not uncommon. Animals often get caught up in society’s dramas, whether it is homelessness, drugs, abuse, or other human issues that impact the community.  I usually describe the animal shelter as not only a place that takes care of vulnerable animals, but as a social service organization working on the human issues that animals get caught up in. Animals do not find themselves at the shelter on their own. It is the people who breed them. It is the people who abandon them. It is family dynamics and societal issues that make people not able to care for them. It is people who abuse them. Animal organizations play an important role in the community and work to support pet owners and educate them to prevent situations like the one described, but we need your support.

Consider supporting in the following ways:

  • Ask for help if you need it. We have numerous programs to help you with the challenges you might be having.
  • Report cases of abuse and neglect. Check with your local animal shelter or law enforcement if you see an animal in need.
  • If you cannot keep an animal, bring it to the animal shelter rather than abandoning it in the street.
  • Call if you see an abandoned or lost pet.
  • Spay or neuter your pet to prevent unwanted litters. We have free and low-cost programs.
  • Support the efforts of animal shelters. You can help Joey and others like him by providing a donation to the Miracle Fund.

Joey will ultimately need a foster home and then a permanent home. Anyone interested in learning more about joining the foster team, adoptions or giving a donation can find more information at pasadenahumane.org.