On September 10th, 2020, after several hours and attempts to rescue, U.S. Water Services Corporation (U.S. Water) was called to help rescue a 6-week old kitten who fell into an open sewer cleanout in the Westminster community of Lehigh Acres.
Natalie Aho, self-professed cat lover and TNR (Trap, Neuter, and Release) program advocate for Fortunate Ferals, heard cries coming from an open pipe while visiting a neighbor. She found it was a small kitten who had fallen into an uncapped sewer cleanout. Natalie was prompted to take immediate action. She initially tried to coax the kitten from the pipe by inserting a rag soaked with tuna juice in hopes the kitten would climb out on its own. When this did not work, she called the Lehigh Acres Fire Department, Lee County Animal Control, and Roto-Rooter. After a full day of working tirelessly and some creative attempts at retrieving the kitten from the pipe, a call was placed to the FGUA.
The Region Three Maintenance Manager, Steve Stanton, received a call from the FGUA Area Manager, Mike Currier, informing him that there was a kitten in one of the sewer pipes on Granby Drive. U.S. Water dispatched a field maintenance crew to the rescue! When they arrived, the Fire department and Animal Services were already there. . The technicians knew that time was of the essence as the sewer main would not be empty for long. A video inspection of the pipe showed the kitten had slid from a lateral into the sewer main under the road. The team determined the road would need to be excavated to reach the kitten. Manholes up and downstream were isolated and fortunately, the main was relatively shallow. The crew then excavated the road and opened the pipe. Using a pressure jetter on a very low PSI, the kitten was coaxed to the opening and finally pulled to safety. The rescue drew cheers from community members who had gathered in support of the crew and the rescue.
The kitten was vetted at Blue Pearl Pet Hospital and estimated to be approximately 6 weeks old and suffering from hyperthermia. Once her body temperature raised to a normal level she was discharged. Natalie has adopted the kitten and appropriately named her “Piper”!
“Thank you to the FGUA and U.S. Water for all of your time, energy, and creative problem-solving. These hard workers were able to restore my faith in humanity. I will remember Piper’s rescue and the guys who saved her for the rest of my life.” Natalie Aho.
As a thank you to the team that rescued Piper, Natalie, and her mom Sue provided a special thank you card, a delicious lasagna luncheon, and $25 gift certificates to each of the technicians for their extraordinary efforts to save Piper.