Categories: Readers Forum

‘Cat rescue’ calls police and demands rescuer on-scene to ‘fill the hole and leave’ with cat still trapped inside

Note from Elisa:This is a longish read but it’s necessary for this Reader’s Forum story about a cat stuck in a pipe. These are the words of Scott Steglinski, who was on-scene in West Springfield, Massachusetts and made sure to have documentation by police on what took place. A cat rescue organisation contacted police and demanded that the rescuer fill the hole they had dug and leave with the kitten still stuck because she didn’t want to get into trouble because of the hole.

Note from Michael: Scott and his mate Tony were awesome and they deserve a medal for their heroic effort in contributing massively in rescuing this kitten against the odds. This is a rare first hand account of the backstory to a very hard kitten rescue. I am asking the cat rescue organisation conerned, Westfield Homeless Cat Project, for a comment.


Kitten being rescued (Scott Steglinski)

Scott Steglinski’s report of the kitten rescue and his major role in it

Drain where kitten was stuck and appeal for help

So I’m going to set the record straight about the kitten that fell down the pipe behind Dinn Brothers. Feel free to share . So after the fire department valiantly spent a couple hours trying to get the kittens out and did everything they could I came across the first post in the picture section posted by Westfield Homeless Cat Project and felt obligated to act .

I immediately called and Denise from Westfield Homeless Cat Project answered. She gave me the address and gave me a vague rundown of the situation and it was obvious she hadn’t been there first hand . So I did what any guy would do and called my best friend Tony Sorcinelli and explained the situation to him and I got there to pick him up around 8:30 and we then did our own assessment of the situation and were joined shortly after by three plumbers one of which was Garrett Richard from 1st American Sewer and Drain and another volunteer Danny Shenefield (Charlie brown) and a anonymous DPW worker who came to help.

They were all volunteering their time to try to rescue the kitten. After putting a drain snake with a camera down the hole we were able to determine that the pipe had either collapsed or was clogged and wasn’t in use anymore and we located the kitten about 7 feet down in the pipe which had no outlet and ran parallel with the building about 6-7 feet down .

After diagnosing the situation the guys from 1st American called Denise from Westfield Homeless Cat Project and explained the situation and there was no way to get it out without digging and cutting it out. Denise told us to leave the property. We told them we were staying and not acting under the direction of Denise and we weren’t leaving until we get the kitten out. Around 10 p.m. all parties left except for Tony and myself . For liability purposes they decided to leave which I completely understand.

So Tony and myself started digging. It was literally through rock and clay . We had to use a crowbar to dislodge the rocks because they were so stuck in the clay .Apparently word got back to Denise from Westfield homeless cat project who called the police on us and told us to fill in the hole after we got 5 feet down with another 2 feet to that kitten . We explained via the police to Denise who had her on the phone that we were only 2 feet from the kitten and it was almost rescued.

DENISE WANTED US TO BURY THE KITTEN ALIVE AGAIN and told the police to tell us to leave the premises . She sent her employee Paul with a crate for the kitten in case we had caught it. After filling in about 2 feet of the dirt Michael Dinn of Dinn brothers trophies showed up and trumped Denise from Westfield Homeless Cat shelters orders and told us to get the kitten out .

Police report

I promised him the hole would get filled in and the police vouched for our integrity to do so. So we dug a total of 6.5 hours till we reached the pipe in spite of Westfield homeless cat shelters attempts to bury the kitten alive again. During this time Paul from the shelter watched us dig and literally did not lift a finger to help us .

He seems like a ok guy but it became obvious to Tony and myself that they see the kittens and cats as a tool to make money and they were worried we would rescue the kitten and place it in another organizations care so he literally watched us while we worked and had his crate right next to him.

So Tony and myself reached the pipe and we cut a foot long section out with the sawzall So the cat could get out and was free if it decided to make its way back the other way . the noise from the sawzall Scared it to the other end of the pipe . At that point it was 4:30 a.m. so I contacted someone in DPW I know and explained the situation and what they would need to finish the job . Basically you need a 100 foot drain snake to gently push the kitten toward the opening and it’ll only take about 10 mininutes at the most to do so we just didn’t have a 100 foot drain snake.

I told Paul my contact at DPW had been notified and would get out there as soon as possible in the morning to finish the job and get the kitten. This proved to be a big mistake in my part because now they know that means west Springfield animal control would most likely be called and because of the Westfield homeless cat projects reputation they knew the kitten wouldn’t be placed in their care so they rushed to get another plumber out to volunteer their time before the DPW got there. Kudos to the plumber who I don’t know but judging by the fact he took a photo of the cat with his business logo he did it for press and not because it was the right thing to do.

Scott during the rescue (Facebook)

Now Westfield Homeless Cat shelter leaves the scene with the kitten, doesn’t fill in the hole and the plumber who “Rescued” the kitten couldn’t be bothered to spend 10 minutes mending the pipe so obviously Dinn brothers were pissed because now they have a pipe that needed to be fixed and a hole that needed to be filled. Did Westfield homeless cat shelter fill it in or attempt to? Of course not.

To someone who doesn’t know the whole story they looked like heroes and took the credit and will get donations because to the outside looking in they made it look like they actually did something when the only thing they did was make a post to draw attention to the kitten. The point of this post isn’t to take credit for rescuing the kitten, honestly Tony and myself don’t care. That cat was saved in spite of them not because of them.

There is no doubt in my mind if Tony and myself hadn’t taken the initiative and dug it out that cat would still be there and would very likely have been dead or drowned in the pipe because it rained the next day.

Scott Steglinski

Note from Elisa: This article wasn’t posted to bash the rescue. Only to remind people to be very cautious. I wouldn’t support ANYONE who demanded the hole be covered with the kitten still trapped. They’re taking quite a bashing on their community page here. The cat rescue has more than 20,000 fans on Facebook, many of whom will likely stand behind them.

To give the cat rescue credit, they did post they needed a plumber in Massachusetts who would be able to come out with a snake and a loop to help save the kitten in West Springfield. It’s a shame they changed their tune once the rescue was under way.

More photos and a video can be found on Scott’s Facebook page.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

View Comments

  • My daughter adopted two kittens from the Westfield cat rescue, they charged a lot of money for them. When I read this story, the TRUE version, I will no longer support the Westfield cat rescue. Sad that people pretend to be good people.

    • There are probably a few good people who work with them. Too bad it only takes one bad person for this to happen. I tend to support individuals I see doing good work. Almost all vets will allow call in payments and those rescuers aren't money hungry. They're just trying to save cats and have faith their friends will cover any expenses.

  • Scott and Tony deserve enormous praise for their heroic efforts in digging this huge hole and rescuing the kitten against the odds and a background of what appears to be unhelpfulness and difficulty.

    Please note that the story is the events as recorded by Scott. We don't have the words of the cat rescue as yet. I will ask them for a comment.

  • I don't know how anyone could live with the thought of burying a living being alive. What a wretched person to suggest such an evil act.

  • If not for the police report I couldn't have posted this story. It was written by one of the rescuers. I'm still in shock the cat rescue contacted police to have the rescuers seal up the hole with the kitten still trapped.

  • GOD BLESS ELISA for all her efforts to save kitten and cats as well as other animals... She is to be commended for her work.

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