Almost everyone knows that city services have been cut to the bone but on no other day is it more apparent than on Sunday. Several incidents and violations went unresolved because they occurred on the weekend.

On Sunday, April 3rd Frank Papp’s cat, Patches, who has been a house cat for 17 years picked that day to finally explore the great outdoors. At approximately 10am a frightened Patches was spotted perched on the highest branches on one of the tallest trees in Juniper Valley Park on Juniper Boulevard South and 71st Street. Patches also selected a day that was one of the wettest and windiest days of the year.

We got a call on our answering machine from a member at 12:30pm reporting that residents had called 311 only to be told that the FDNY no longer gets cats out of trees and that job in now the responsibility of Animal Rescue. It turns out that Animal Rescue is really Animal Care & Control, a non-profit organization, not a city agency and they don’t work on weekends.

So all seemed hopeless for Patches the cat as he shivered from the gusting winds and dropping temperatures. Luckily two off-duty firefighters saw the predicament and called the firehouse (Engine 288) in Maspeth. Within minutes the truck responded. However the cat was at the top of the tall tree, possibly 35-40 feet in the air. The responding truck only had an extension ladder. The quick thinking firefighters placed the ladder on top of the truck and in gail force winds, Firefighter Sanchez climbed to the top rung of the ladder and placed an agitated Patches in a burlap bag to be hoisted down.

However Patches did manage to scratch FF Sanchez quite a bit on his arm. A heartfelt thanks to Firefighter Sanchez and the rest of Engine Company 288 who came to the rescue of an animal and pet in trouble.