After being stranded atop a 60-foot electric pole for three days – enduring gusting winds, a rainstorm and Monday’s direct sun – it took a group effort of several Doña Ana County Animal Control Officers, one veterinarian and two El Paso Electric linemen to rescue a female tabby-mix named Athena from her harrowing ordeal on the East Mesa near her family’s home on Eason Road, just off Berry Patch Lane.
Athena’s plight circulated Monday on Facebook, prompting calls to the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office.
The cat was brought down to safety thanks to Lt. Mary Lou Ward, who supervises the Doña Ana County Animal Control and Codes Department. Ward was hoisted up to the cat’s location in a bucket truck provided by El Paso Electric, who disconnected electricity in the area while the rescue was underway.
David Eason, 53, said Athena belongs to his 16-year-old daughter. Eason and his family have lived on their East Mesa property since 1984.
“She pretty much came to terms with the fact that her cat was going to die up on that pole,” Eason said, while watching the rescue unfold Monday afternoon.
According to animal control officers, Eason had called for help Friday, March 14, after spotting Athena from her perch at the top of the pole.
“We figured she was chased up there by coyotes,” said Eason.
Animal Control officers tried calling for help from El Paso Electric on Friday, but were told their personnel were not trained in animal rescue.
When animal control officers responded for duty Monday and learned there was still a call pending for a cat on a pole near Berry Patch and Eason, the calls for help became more frantic.
“We were going into Day 4,” said Eason. “I wasn’t going to let her suffer any more.”
Power to the pole was cut shortly after 2 p.m. Monday. Ward suited up in protective gear and made her ascent to the cat’s location. After securing the cat with a catch pole, Athena was secured in the bucket and lowered to the ground, where Dr. Patricia Norris, the full-time vet for the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, was waiting with IV fluids.
Aside from being dehydrated, Athena was reportedly in good health. She was returned to Eason, who took the cat inside where she could get some rest and recover.
“After watching this,” said Eason, “I can only hope we can spend as much time and energy helping people.”
Eason was not charged for the electrical outage, which affected an unknown number of people in the immediate area. Power was interrupted for about an hour.