Near cat-astrophe gives paws for thought

Several Tel Aviv residents who called the city to obtain help for a cat trapped under the hood of a parked car were outraged to be told that nothing could be done if the car's owner was unknown and was not at the site, reports But, fortunately for the cat in question, one resident called city councilor and head of the municipal Animal Welfare Committee Reuben Ladianski directly, who pounced into action and helped free the animal. According to the report, residents of central Tel Aviv were dismayed to hear a cat howling from inside the hood of the parked car and tried to lure it out with food scraps, but were unsuccessful. One resident said the cat had been stuck since the morning and was "howling like crazy," and the city's apathetic response was "shocking." After Ladianski was called directly, he discovered that the call center could have identified the car's owner by searching the vehicle's registration number in the computer system. He called the center and rebuked it as "irresponsible," saying that a few simple keystrokes and a telephone call would have been enough to find the owner. After his call, the center did identify and call the car's owner, who sent her daughter to open the hood, freeing the flustered feline. Ladianski said that in the wake of the event, he had instructed the city manager to discuss the importance of animal welfare with municipal employees. He said he was also asking for daily reports on any calls about animals to the call center, especially urgent ones.