Richmond Fire Dept. Gets PETA Award—and Vegan Cake—for High-Stakes Kitten Rescue

Rookie Firefighter's First Rescue Ends in New Home for Cat Stuck Atop Bridge Support Column

For Immediate Release:
June 20, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Richmond, Va. – On Monday evening, Richmond police officer Kelly Morley alerted the Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services to a citizen’s report that a kitten was trapped on a bridge support column—and the fire department sprang into action. Rookie firefighter Betty Migliaccio climbed a fully outstretched, 75-foot ladder to retrieve the kitten and take him back to safety. When Officer Morley saw the 4-week-old animal in person, it was love at first sight—she plans to adopt him from Richmond Animal Care and Control as soon as he’s old enough.

For their extraordinary efforts, Migliaccio and the Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services will receive PETA’s Compassionate Fire Department Award. And to help Migliaccio celebrate her very first rescue—a milestone that rookies at the station traditionally mark with cake and ice cream—PETA will also deliver delicious vegan cake and dairy-free ice cream for the department to enjoy.

“Thanks to the kindness and know-how of the Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services, a kitten who got himself into a very precarious position now has a new lease on life and a loving new home waiting for him,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “Richmond is very fortunate to have first responders who are ready to protect and serve the area’s human and four-legged residents.”

Migliaccio and the Richmond Department of Fire and Emergency Services will also receive a framed certificate to display in the firehouse, and Officer Morley will receive a special care package, including vegan cat treats, to help welcome the rescued kitten home.

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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