Photos: Cat Rescue From Harlem Tree Nets PETA Award For FDNY And Animal Control

After Spending 48 Hours in the Sweltering Heat, Cat Is Reunited With Relieved Family

For Immediate Release:
August 19, 2016

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

New York – A Compassionate Action Award and a Compassionate Fire Department Award are on their way from PETA to Animal Care Centers of NYC’s Field Operations Division and FDNY Engine 80, Ladder 23, respectively, which sprang into action on Saturday to help a cat who was stuck in a tree in Riverside Park.

Harlem resident Josephine Craig had been walking her cat, Stew, on a leash when he broke free and ran up a tree near the 125th Street viaduct. Initial rescue attempts only drove the frightened animal farther up the tree, where he stayed for 48 hours as the heat index rose to 110 degrees. When PETA heard about Stew’s plight on Saturday, the group alerted Animal Care Centers of NYC Field Manager Rob Valles, who sent Officer Stephanie Celardo to the scene. Celardo then went in person to the nearby FDNY station, where firefighters were quick to accompany her back to the park with a ladder truck, rescue Stew, and reunite him with his family.

“After spending two days at the top of a tree during one of the hottest weeks of the summer, this cat was saved from his frightening predicament, thanks to the kindness of New York’s firefighters and animal control officers,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA encourages caring people everywhere to take this story as inspiration to help animals in need.”

Animal Care Centers of NYC’s Field Operations Division and FDNY Engine 80, Ladder 23, will each receive a framed certificate and a box of delicious vegan cookies. The firefighters will also receive a copy of The Engine 2 Diet—a Texas firefighter’s 28-day plan for staying in prime firefighting shape by eating a plant-based diet.

Photos and video from Stew’s rescue are available here, and for more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind