ARL Recognizes State Trooper for Life-Saving Actions

Kitten Found Along I-93, Suffering From Severe Heat Exhaustion

This week the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reunited Massachusetts State Trooper John DeNapoli with a kitten he helped save several weeks earlier, and also presented the trooper with a certificate of recognition for his life-saving actions.

Everything unfolded on the afternoon of June 13. ARL’s Rescue Department received a call from a concerned motorist about a kitten along the median of I-93 northbound, just before the exit for Route 138 in Canton. ARL Rescue Agent Theresa Vinic proceeded immediately towards the area.

“We’re close to that area, so I drove out from the opposite direction to get a visual on the kitten, but was directed not to stop along the roadway for safety reasons,” Vinic said.

Once spotting the kitten, ARL dispatch coordinated with the Massachusetts State Police, and Trooper DeNapoli responded with the hopes of finding the kitten.

“I pulled in nice and slow to not scare him. He was scratching and biting a bit, he was definitely freaking out,” DeNapoli told the Boston Herald. “So he wanted out as soon as I grabbed him, then animal rescue was already on their way.”

With DeNapoli’s cruiser stopped on the median, Vinic was able to safely pull up in front of the vehicle to gather up the kitten. DeNapoli had placed the kitten in an empty flare box, and in a situation where every second counted, these actions truly were life-saving.

“We didn’t have to spend time locating and trapping the kitten, he was ready to go,” Vinic said.

Kitten in Trouble

When Vinic returned to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center, the kitten, named “Trooper” by Vinic, was in serious trouble as temperatures that day soared into the 90s and the heat coming off the roadway only made matters worse. He was frothing at the mouth and panting excessively — a clear sign of heat exhaustion. With a body temperature of 106 degrees and climbing (normal temperatures range from 101-103 degrees), he quickly needed to cool down. ARL staff placed the little guy on an ice pack, poured alcohol on his feet pads, and gave him subcutaneous fluids.

Twenty minutes later Trooper’s temperature dropped, and staff was able to begin working on the rest of the kitten’s issues. Trooper was covered in dirt, had ants crawling on his fur, and also had abrasions on his nose, mouth, and around his left eye. Additionally he weighed just 1-pound-9-ounces.

Showing his toughness, Trooper rebounded quickly and was adopted by a woman who actually witnessed Trooper DeNapoli rescue the kitten on that busy highway.

Happy Reunion

During a special ceremony at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center, Trooper DeNapoli was reunited with the kitten, and was amazed at how Trooper, now named “Basil,” has rebounded.

“It feels good to see the comparison to recovery from when he came in,” DeNapoli said.

Getting a Second Chance

Basil is happy and thriving in his new home, and it took an amazing collaborative effort from not only ARL and State Police, but also from the compassionate people who contacted dispatch to report the kitten’s location. While a positive outcome, this incident also has a troubling element, because it’s likely that Basil was abandoned.

“We’re not certain how it ended up in the middle of the freeway,” Vinic told the Boston Herald. “No dwellings appear to be around and when he arrived he appeared to be social, he was rolling around and purring, which leaves us to believe that he did have human contact prior.”

ARL wants to remind you that if you are no longer able to care for an animal, they can be surrendered to organizations like ARL, or a local shelter, or even a local police or fire department. There are resources available, and abandoning an animal is ILLEGAL and NEVER an option.