Dalmatians might be historically connected to fire departments, but a tortoise shell cat named Edna has been given the boot.
Instead of hanging out with firefighters, EMTs and paramedics all day, Edna will be going home with a firefighter who stepped up to adopt her.
Edna, rescued by firefighters at Station 49 as a kitten five years ago, had been threatened with eviction after an anonymous complaint. Edna had become a mascot at the station, which turns out not to be a fire station but an ambulance deployment facility, and had her own Instagram account, fire_cat_edna, with almost 25,000 followers. She also was being trained as a therapy animal to visit schools, hospitals and nursing homes.
Firefighters said Edna helped them cope with the stress of the job.
After investigating the complaint, the San Francisco Fire Department ruled that Edna needed to go. The facility houses emergency medical equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals, the sterility of which might be compromised by the presence of an animal. The department also a long-standing policy against having any pets in fire department buildings because of concerns for the health and safety of the animals.
When firefighters learned Edna might be feline non grata at the station, they launched a campaign to save Edna, drawing letters of support from around the world. But the verdict was announced Monday that Edna needed to be a house cat.
In a statement, the fire department said it recognizes that pets can be a great stress reliever for people, especially first responders. Because of that, the department has reached out to San Francisco Animal Care and Control, the San Francisco SPCA and Muttville, a private rescue group that specializes in finding homes for older pets. They will coordinate a special adoption day for first responders.
Firefighters also will be invited to participate in the SPCA’s Cuddle Me program, which gives people the opportunity to snuggle with a pet without needing to adopt one.
Fire station cat must go, San Francisco Fire Department rules