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What's harder to remove--a tiger from an apartment or a cat in a crevice?
Either way, Mike Pastore, the director of field operations for the AC&C, is the one who has become the expert in unusual urban animal removal.
Mr. Pastore, who had been involved with the famous case of the tiger in a Harlem housing project (now living the good life in an Ohio wildlife sanctuary) was most recently involved with the rescue and removal of Molly, the shop cat at the Meyer's of Keswich grocery store on Hudson Street. Molly's plight--trapped for two weeks in a narrow space between two buildings, one of them the store she guarded--garnered international media attention reminiscent of the time "Baby Jessica" fell down a well in Midland, Texas in 1987.
When the cat ran into the space on April 5th, Mr. Pastore immediately dispatched a field agent to the scene. For five tense days, the cat was neither seen nor heard. Finally, a faint, scared meow came from the between the wall.
"The big problem was that, when she was vocalizing, she sounded like she was only three feet away, but actually (because of an echo effect) she was more like 20 feet deep into the space," Mr. Pastore says. Complicating the effort was the cat owner's reluctance to have a large hole drilled through the interior wall of his recently-renovated store.
Enter Alan Fierstein, an acoustics specialist from nearby sound business Acoustilog, who used his equipment and know-how to pinpoint exactly where the cornered kitty was. A building inspector and a sandhog working on a tunnel project nearby also stopped by to lend a hand in the effort, as did several members of Emergency Services and the Police Department. All of the rescuers used vacation or other personal time to help. "As a taxpayer and a penny pincher, I can honestly say the effort didn't cost the city a penny," Pastore says. "It was great to be part of such a cooperative effort. Everyone worked as a team and no one was trying to grandstand."
The day-to-day efforts to rescue animals from tight spots that don't cause such a media frenzy do, however, cost the AC&C money, time and equipment. A special fund to help these everyday rescue efforts have been established. Contributions can be sent to: Molly's Fund, c/o AC&C, 11 Park Place, Suite 805, New York, NY 10007. Call 212-341-0044 or visit www.nycacc.org for more information.