Request for help on Facebook helps save Dubuque kitten - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Request for help on Facebook helps save Dubuque kitten

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Kelly Johnson was walking a dog along Radford Road in Dubuque when she heard a kitten's cry coming from a storm drain.

She called Dubuque Animal Control to help get the kitten out, but apparently wasn't happy with their response.

"I finally decided that, you know what, I'm going to turn to social media, cause I know that I can't be the only one that is upset about this," said Johnson.

She posted a video of the kitten's cry on Facebook, prompting a swift outcry.  In less than a day, more than 12,000 people viewed the video, and it was shared more than 200 times.

"I was astounded," Johnson explained. "I knew that social media would get some attention, I knew other people in Dubuque were going to have issue as well. I had no idea how big the response would be."

That video is how Vicky Ruefer, director of the Whispuuring Hope Animal Rescue, got involved.

"Social media is like gold to rescues, you know trying to get out there and trying to get help for funding for donations, and just get people aware that they're out there and they need us," she said.

She called area fire departments, who, along with the city, set a live trap for the kitten.  The kitten was rescued less than a day after its cries were first heard.

And while Johnson may not have been happy with the city's response, Dubuque's Public Health Specialist, Mary Rose Corrigan, said the call was still open, and they were still working to try to rescue the kitten.

"Rescuing or helping out animals that are in situations they can't get themselves out of, is something we do on a fairly regular basis," Corrigan said. "We have animal control officers that have good experience in dealing with animals, and we're confident that they can deal with the situation in an appropriate way."

And with just two part-time animal control officers handling nearly 2,000 animal calls a year, they certainly have their work cut out for them.

Regardless of how it got done, Johnson is just thrilled that kitten, now named Radford Emerald, is healthy and will hopefully live a long life.

"I'm beyond happy.  I'm beyond pleased that the cat is actually saved, it's out, it's getting medical treatment, and it's with a rescue that has it's best interests at heart," Johnson said.

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