Three feral kittens have been freed from a self-storage unit at U-Haul Moving & Storage of The Mile High City in Thornton, Colo., after being trapped for nearly two weeks. One was rescued while the other two eluded capture by animal control and are now loose in the area, according to sources.
The felines were discovered last week by Mandy Swartz, who heard their cries while visiting the storage facility at 7540 York St. with a friend who rented a unit there. The animals had become trapped inside the unit after crawling through a small crack between the ground and the structure.
Since finding the cats, Swartz has been giving them food and water every evening through the crevice. She was able to retrieve one of the kittens, which she named Jackson, through the hole.
Swartz also notified the property managers, who contacted Adams County Animal Control. A trap was placed inside the unit on Tuesday evening but was unsuccessful. Management also attempted to reach the tenant multiple times to obtain permission to access the unit, according to a statement from Andrea Batchelor, a media and public-relations specialist for U-Haul International Inc.
Frustrated by the delay to rescue the animals, Swartz turned to the local media for help on Tuesday, to add pressure to U-Haul to release the animals. “Why are you so concerned about this person's property over a living thing? It doesn't make sense," she said.
Mindful of the outside temperature, which approached 100 degrees this week, Jim Siedlecki, director of communications for Adams County, asked U-Haul on Wednesday afternoon to “accelerate its policy” so animal control could enter the unit and rescue the kittens. Staff unlocked the unit at 3:11 p.m., and the two cats bolted.
“I'm glad they got them out," Swartz said. "Thank God. But at the same time, I'm not sure if I believe them, because they've been so difficult this entire time.”
In a crisis such as this, it should be easy to free an animal, Swartz said. “If you break the window, if a dog is stuck in a hot car—and people do it all the time and cops will do it for you," she said. “They don't arrest anybody. Nothing happens, but this is different. Why is this different?”
In the statement released by U-Haul on Wednesday evening, Batchelor said U-Haul deferred to the recommendations and expertise of animal control, with the goal “to capture the cats without harm.” The storage tenant was finally reached on Wednesday and granted authorities permission to access the unit. The customer said the cats didn’t belong to him. The statement also noted that “keeping animals in a self-storage unit is a violation of the U-Haul rental agreement, not to mention reckless and inhumane.”
Established in 1945 and based in Phoenix, U-Haul operates more than 1,500 self-storage facilities across North America and owns more than 38 million square feet of storage space.
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