San Francisco orders fire dept. to remove cat from station after complaint
Despite attempts by first responders to keep Edna, she was officially removed due to “public health and safety concerns”
By News Staff
SAN FRANCISCO — First responders were ordered by city officials to remove their beloved cat from a department facility after an anonymous complaint.
Edna’s exit came after an anonymous complaint was filed with the city. Fire department officials said in a statement that "public health and safety concerns counseled removal of the cat from the premises."
"To clarify what has been reported in the media, the workplace in question is not a fire station," the statement said. "This facility is the Department's Ambulance Deployment Facility. Within this facility is Department Logistics, where medical supplies, equipment and pharmaceuticals used by ambulance staff to provide crucial lifesaving emergency health care are housed."
Irene Ybarra, a former SFFD paramedic who was in charge of EMS logistics at the station said the statement was not entirely accurate.
"When I was at Station 49 I developed the medical supply in such a way that Edna was not able to get into the clean room," Ybarra said. "The items are usually boxed up, and it's not something [Edna] is usually in the habit of getting on top of. She had her own specific spot, a box with blanket in it. Edna has never been an issue."
Ybarra said Edna became a part of the Station 49 family four years ago.
"My partner and I were the ones who started feeding her because she was coming around so often," she said.
First responders were given until Monday to “get rid of” Edna or else animal control would be called. Staff members launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #EdnaStays in the hopes that public support would change the minds of city officials. Still, Edna officially left the station.
"All this over an 'anonymous' complaint that was made with malicious intent," fire_cat_edna, an Instagram page dedicated to Edna, wrote.
Although the SFFD statement said that Edna had been adopted by a staff member “as a pet at home, where she will be well cared for,” Ybarra said Edna has not been permanently adopted.
"Nobody adopted Edna, the person who took her home today has two dogs and two cats at home already so this is not the ideal situation," she said. "She is still working to try to figure out [where Edna will go]. Ideally I would like to be the one who adopts her, but that's going to be a couple of more months."
Support for Edna poured in from our fans after her story was posted on our Facebook page, with many commenters sharing photos of their own station cats.
“Station cat Oscar thinks the cat should stay,” FR1 fan Callie Mallory said, and included a photo of Oscar. “He gives us a touch of peace when everything is falling down around us. Station cats not only rescue an animal and give them a good home, but the cat rescues us too.”
Read more about other fire departments and their beloved pets: