Fire-veterinary partnership helps 3 cats rescued from east side blaze


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Their names are unknown and they were too busy napping to arch their backs for cameras.

But three cats pulled from an Indianapolis house fire Wednesday morning achieved enviable social media fame after firefighters posted photos of their harrowing rescue.

The displaced house pets — their collars simply labeled #1, #2 and #3 — declined to interact with News 8 crews at Noah’s Animal Hospital.

Their human handlers addressed media on their behalf as they lounged in an oxygen cage at the veterinary clinic on Stop 11 Road.

“Two out of the three are doing really well,” said Tom Dock, a spokesperson for Noah’s Animal Hospital. “The last one isn’t doing quite as well but we have high hopes. The x-rays look good.”

Fire officials said the cats were rescued from a blaze believed to be sparked by an overloaded generator on Grant Avenue, between New York and Washington streets.

Two people in the house escaped the fire but at least four cats remained unaccounted for Wednesday night.

The felines rescued by firefighters were treated at the scene and transported to Noah’s under a fire-veterinary partnership the hospital described as “unique to Indianapolis.”

“It’s the first program of its kind in the country,” Dock told News 8. “It’s called ‘DART’ or ‘Domestic Animal Response Team’ and it helps pets affected by residential fires.”

The collaboration between the Indianapolis Fire Department, Indy C.A.R.E.S. and Noah’s Animal Hospital provides treatment and shelter for pets, and peace of mind for people.

It allows residents dealing with the aftermath of house and apartment fires to focus on their own immediate needs without having to worry about animal care, according to program leaders.

“The priority is going to be human life but now with the DART program, we’re really trying to make an effort to remember those furry pets as well,” said Crystal Schaeffer, BS, RVT, a registered veterinary technician and director of nursing development at Noah’s. 

She urged pet owners to make the presence of their animals known in case of emergency.

“Please have something on your windows that indicate to firefighters that you have pets in your house, [what floor they’re on and] how many,” she said.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals distributes free packets of pet rescue stickers.

Sign up to receive a free pet safety packet on the ASPCA website.

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