BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Berkeley Heights Fire Department was dispatched Monday at 5:30 p.m. to the cul-de-sac of Berkshire Drive for a reported cat that was stuck up in a tree. The cat which goes by the name of "Boots" got away from his owner at some time on Saturday and was stuck in a tree on the side of his home in a wooded area.
Because the area was not accessible to the Department's Tower Ladder, the Fire Department utilized its tallest ground ladder which was 35 feet. "A firefighter was able to get close enough, but as he reached for the cat, Boots got spooked and climbed further up the tree beyond the height of our ground ladder," said Fire Chief Anthony Padovano.
"I contacted Animal Control and they advised me that tranquilizing the cat will cause serious harm so that option was quickly dismissed," he said.
Union County DPW was an option, but due to the weight of their bucket truck, the truck would not make it where it needed to be without getting stuck -- and the Township's DPW bucket truck only goes 35 feet up, so that wasn't an option either.
The home owner was told to put food at the base of the tree in hopes the cat would come down. Padovano said he would follow up Tuesday morning. An animal lover, Padovano was in constant contact with the home owner and was advised the cat was still stuck.
He contacted New Providence Fire Department and met Chief of Department Mike Piana at the scene. Piana advised Padovano that they had a 40 foot ground ladder, however the cat was up beyond that, and Padovano believed the cat could get spooked again, and would go even higher.
The rescuers realized a tree climber was necessary to get Boots. So, on Tuesday evening, Padovano contacted Kevin Sullivan from Chestnut Tree Service to see if he could assist. "Without any hesitation whatsoever he committed to the rescue," said Padovano. He responded Tuesday evening to the address and sized up the situation. He returned with his crew Wednesday morning.
"I, along with members of the fire department met Kevin and his team at the address around 8:30 a.m.," said Padovano.
Once there, the Chestnut Tree Service tree climber ascended the tree to gain access to the cat. Fire Department members along with Chestnut Tree Service employees were on the ground with blankets in the event the cat fell out of the tree. As he climbed the tree, the cat went even higher and out onto a branch. The climber was able to get above where the cat was now located. He then swung down to the area where the cat was, grabbed the animal and put him in a cage. Both climber and cat then made it safely to the ground where he was then reunited with his owner.
Padovano expressed his gratitude to Chestnut Tree Service, and said, "Job Well Done to Kevin Sullivan from Chestnut Tree Service and his entire staff that showed up that morning. His professionalism and expertise that his staff brings to the table in times of need are second to none. We are truly fortunate to have these types of resources located within our Township to fall back on."
"There is nothing more satisfying and rewarding to me than to see a pet reunited with its owner," said Padovano. "Our animals are part of our family and I am glad that this worked out."