Friday, April 14, 2006

No rescue is too small for government to hinder

The New York Post reported a few days ago on a young cat that had already been trapped for several days inside a deli's walls. Notice what this AP article mentions, which explains why the owners still can't rescue their poor cat after two weeks:
Trapped NYC Cat Enters Day 13 of Captivity

NEW YORK - With Molly the fugitive feline sending out distress calls from a few feet — or maybe just inches — away, animal rescue and city experts tried anew on Thursday to lure the 11-month-old black cat from the innards of a 19th century building where she has been trapped for nearly two weeks.

The low-key drama, with no end in sight, was playing out in the basement wall and ceiling of a Greenwich Village delicatessen, where Molly had been official house mouser until wandering into a narrow space between walls and becoming lost in what rescue supervisor Mike Pastore described as "a maze of beams and pipes, going every which way."

With city building officials on hand to supervise, more bricks were hammered out in the cellar of the 157-year-old, four-story building on Hudson Street. The edifice is part of a landmarked historic district where alterations are prohibited without official permission.

Pastore said he hoped Molly's situation would be seen as enough of an emergency "so that we can knock out a few more bricks."
...

Pastore, field director for Animal Care & Control, a private organization with a city contract to handle lost, injured and unwanted animals, said the rescue was the most difficult in his experience. "I've done this dozens of times — even in zero neighborhoods where you're lucky to get out alive," he said.
There you have it: just because the government of New York City has proclaimed a "historic district" that includes the building, the owners must have bureaucrats on-hand to approve every brick that's removed. Though he works for a private company, Pastore in this situation has become part of the long arm of big government. It's not surprising that he finds the rescue so "difficult" when it ought not to be, or that he hopes the government to which he's so subservient will give permission for "a few more bricks."

Once they discovered their cat was trapped, the owners could have pulled out the entire wall as they saw fit, balancing their love for their pet with how much damage they were willing to suffer. However, we're again dealing with big government and it's "to hell with you" attitude about people's property rights. The city evidently considers the well-being of a cat a small price to pay for the preservation of a "historic district." It's an easy cost since the government's decision-makers make others bear it.

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