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Animal Welfare in Raytown

We had a serious house fire while my wife and I were in Boston attending a special education convention. A catsitter was coming over daily to feed and look after our two cats (Flash and Squeek).  Luckily, the catsitters arrived while the Raytown Fire Department was fighting the fire, and were able to give them our cell phone numbers. The Fire Marshall, Matt Mace, called us several times as they got the fire out and began assessing the extent of the damage. Matt understood that our major concern was for the welfare of our animals, and personally stayed at the house until both cats had been rescued and the house was boarded up. We changed our airline tickets and flew home the next day, after calling the Raytown Animal Hospital where Flash and Squeek had been taken per Raytown’s city contract.  When I inquired about their condition by phone, I was upset to find out no one had checked them over or even appeared aware that they had been in a fire. That was also the case when we picked them up the next day. Their fur was still grimy and full of soot, and their noses and ears were black from the smoke in the house. We had to call our own veterinarian to find out what we should do to make sure they were okay.

We were very pleased with the performance of the Raytown Fire Department, and thankful that they saved the majority of the structure. We’re also happy to report that the cats are fine, and suffered no long-term ill effects from the fire. We were not pleased with the attitude of the staff at Raytown Animal Hospital, who indicated their responsibility was simply to house the animals until we could get back to town and pick them up.

At the very least, I would expect that all animals in a fire or car accident would get at least a minimal physical exam as part of the city’s contract, just as paramedics would check out a person who had been in a similar situation.

The city is about to sign a new contract with Raytown Animal Hospital.  Provisions to insure that potentially injured animals are not just tossed in a cage with food and water should be part of that contract.

Michael N. Downing


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