How Much Does It Actually Cost a Fire Department to Rescue a Cat?

CALIFORNIA – The Sacramento Fire Department has more than a few people feeling a little ‘catty’.

The department’s Facebook page posted a kitten rescue video back on Sunday Aug. 15th after a tiny cat got itself stuck between two fence posts. The video shows fire crews using a screwdriver in hopes to free the kitten from the uncomfortable situation. So far, the video has been viewed more than 44,000 times.

Sacramento Fire spokesperson, Chris Harvey, explained they have people watching the video from all over the world.

Although the kitten rescue video has received an overwhelmingly positive response, not all of the readers felt warm and fuzzy about animal rescue videos. In fact, some of the comments that were made, to a cat lover, may actually seem cruel and obnoxious!

According to Harvey, who posted the video of the actual kitten rescue, there’s no additional cost for taking an animal-in-distress call.

“The crew is already on duty and being paid,” he stated. “Fuel cost is the only additional cost. The taxpayer is not paying an extra cost.”

Harvey went on to say that they take animal rescue calls as long as the fire crew feels they can handle the situation safely. If it’s too dangerous, they simply won’t risk the safety of crew members.

He also stated the department welcomes discussions with the City Council if there are concerns about how money is being spent but that traditionally, they are an ‘all-risk organization’, meaning they take on what the public needs when asking for help.

Cosumnes Fire Department Battalion Chief Kris Hubbard also explained that taxpayers are not digging deeper into their pockets for critter rescues.

“There is no cost,” Hubbard stated. “We don’t bill anyone for animal rescues just like we wouldn’t bill anyone for a structure fire. That money is part of what we do.”

Hubbard noted that the only cost is in fuel and staff, but that’s all in the budget. He went on to say that fire engines get about five to eight miles to the gallon, so although the trucks aren’t fuel-efficient that’s the only additional cost.

In West Sacramento, animal rescue calls are usually handled by animal control services. Rebecca Ramirez, Deputy Chief at West Sacramento Fire Department, said fire crews serve mainly as support to animal control.

She explained that if called, the department does respond to animal rescue situations– at no additional cost to the taxpayer– as long as there’s not a more important call to go to.

“There’s a pecking order. It [animal rescues] are considered a lower priority call. If there’s a life-threatening situation, that’s what we’re going to,” Ramirez stated.

It might seem like firefighters respond to many ‘kitten-in-the-tree’ calls but Ramirez stated, the West Sacramento Fire Department only had 13 animal rescues in the past two years.

So go ahead and enjoy that kitten rescue video. The only thing it’ll cost you is “purr-haps” that warm and fuzzy feeling.

Watch the original kitty rescue video clip that was posted by the fire department here: