Searching for answers in the rubble of the disaster at Windermere Court.
Marano says the PSPCA received some phone calls from activists and residents concerned about the cats left in the building after the fire and that they responded to those calls.
But when they showed up, the Ginsbergs would not let them onto the property.
Because the animal control department of PSPCA was refused access to trap the animals left behind in the fire, the situation legally became animal cruelty—and no one will ever know how many pet cats were lost to the streets that could have been saved.
“This never should have come over to my department at all,” says Bengal. “Animal control should have been allowed to handle this … but the person who has that building under their control [didn’t] allow anyone to remove the pets or allow anyone to do that, so then it would fall back on us. That’s what happened.”
“The owner wasn’t … letting people set traps for the animals,” says Bengal. “He wanted nothing to do with it.”
Alexander also says she will not rest until the city has agreed on a concrete plan to make sure that pets are never abandoned again in the face of a similar disaster. To that end, City Kitties has launched a dedicated website called windermerefirepets.org.
Alexander says the function of the campaign is to “draw attention to holes in the protocol.”
“Our intent is to get the city to activate PHL-CART during emergencies—or take some action,” she says. “Do something.”
With it unclear that the PSPCA will renew their animal control contract this year, now is the best time to hash out a protocol that can work with or without the PSPCA.
Meanwhile, thieves got richer and the streets—with the addition of a few more firearms—just a little more dangerous. As for the actual cause of the actual fire, on Feb. 14 it was officially determined “undetermined," according to Fire Department Chief Daniel Williams.
Letters to the Editor