To The Editor:
Two nicely-dressed men from the church at Seventh and McKean streets strolled to the corner on the night of July 19 to gaze down with interest at the kitten screaming as it was drowning in the sewer.
“We don’t live around here,” they told the teenage girls and crowd of little kids who were begging someone for help.
Most of the people in the neighborhood went about their business, while the screaming continued from the desperate little cat, who was clawing at the walls trying to keep his head above the filthy water. One older gentleman stopped and started working his cell phone to summon help — the sewer grate was too much for him to lift.
Verizon Wireless 411 didn’t have a number for Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Team. No one at the Pennsylvania SPCA picked up the phone.
The screaming had mostly stopped by then. The kitten was going under the water for longer and longer periods, exhausted by its fight for life. Kittens can’t swim, but this kitten had been swimming for a half hour.
Who came through? The Philadelphia Water Department. One burly guy rolled up in a truck, ripped off the grate, and with the aid of the older gentleman, rigged tools together to get the soaked, shivering kitten out of the sewer.
He’s 6 months old, and a beautiful gray color. You can see him soon in the adoption center at the PetSmart on Oregon Avenue. Ask for Tony McKean.
The kids named him after the Water Department hero who saved him — can’t give his full name because pulling drowning kittens out of sewers is really not an official Water Department matter — and McKean for the street where he was reborn. The older gentleman who led the rescue walked away before anyone got his name.
And the well-dressed church folks and the adults who sat on their stoops chatting while a kitten screamed in agony in the summer evening – what about them?
Chances are little Tony McKean didn’t just tumble into that sewer. He’s skinny, but not that skinny. Chances are someone threw or kicked him in there.
Creeps like that aren’t satisfied torturing kittens for long. Whoever it was will be going after the children next — maybe not this week, maybe not until next year. But it will happen.
Let’s hope someone hears when those children start screaming.
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