Cat Rescued From Fire; Owner Charged With Battery

 |  Jun 23rd 2011  |   3 Contributions


Rubely Melendez cradles GeeJoe the cat in his arms. Photo: Screen capture from the ABC Action News story

At 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, a Wesley Chapel, Fla., home went up in flames. The three human residents, along with four dogs and two birds, managed to escape safely -- but the family cat was nowhere to be found.

In a desperate attempt to find GeeJoe the cat, Deana Melendez ran back into her burning house. She refused to leave until she found the frightened feline, but firefighters knew they had to get her out of the building before she was overcome by smoke or trapped inside.

Deana's 21-year-old son Kiyon went in after his mother, grabbed her and carried her outside, where firefighters tried to keep her from going back inside.

Deana would have none of that. She struggled with the responders and screamed, F--- you, Im looking for my cat! She reportedly hit a firefighter in the head and kicked him in the knee as he tried to carry her away from the house. Even then, she tried to fight her way free, punching a sheriff's deputy as she was being handcuffed in order to restrain her.

The drama began late Monday night, when Deana, who had been drinking, started fighting with her husband. As the argument escalated, police came to the home in response to a domestic disturbance call, and Mr. Melendez decided to escape the drunken scene by going to a hotel for the night.

After her husband left, Deana tore down an oil painting her husband had made, threw it in the fireplace, and set it on fire. In her drunken fury she forgot to open the flue, and the house caught fire.

The blaze was put out an hour after the two-alarm call and the firefighters set to work looking for GeeJoe. A couple of hours later, one of them found the terrified cat behind the house, trying to escape from the lanai, and handed him off to Mr. Melendez, who gently cradled the soaked and sooty cat as EMTs administered oxygen.

Neighbor Laura Kulikowski assisted in the first aid efforts. She gave GeeJoe syringes of water, wrapped him in towels to soothe him, and brought the cat to her vet as soon as the office opened.

GeeJoe is recovering well, and Kulikowski is taking care of all the Melendez pets until the family can find another place to live.

Meanwhile, Deana Melendez has been charged with two counts of battery for hitting the firefighter and the deputy.

This video from ABC Action News gives more details about the rescue.

(If you're in a reader, you can visit this link to see the video.)

[Source: Life With Cats]

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