A woman who wanted to save a pet still believed to be trapped in what remained of the collapsed Florida condo building was denied her request by a judge on Sunday, just minutes before the condo was demolished.
The Miami Herald reported that Paula Phillips, an attorney representing paralegal and animal rescue volunteer Stacey Karron, filed an emergency petition to save a stranded pet around 9:30 p.m. The request was denied and the building was demolished not long after.
The motion absolved anyone of any liability should Karron hurt herself while searching for pets who were still trapped in the crumbling condo building. While it the name of the pet was not mentioned during the hearing or the motion, the New York Post identified it as possibly a cat named Coco.
While pet owners may be horrified to learn Karron’s motion was denied, presumably sentencing Coco to death, but there is hope the feline escaped. Miami-Dade County Attorney Dave Murray argued against Karron’s motion, saying “This is not a case where the county has sat on their hands.”
From the Post:
He said that at the time of the hearing, the building was loaded with explosives — and in order for Karron to go back in rescue workers would have had to further risk their lives by checking on the charges.
Murray added that the county had made several efforts to rescue any surviving animals since the June 24 collapse, the paper reported.
Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that no animals were found as rescuers searched the remaining building using animal life traps and thermal technology.
Karron’s attorney had argued that her client knew the risks of returning to the building.
“They understand the risk. They understand the building can come down at any time,” Phillips argued.
The Post reported that firefighters had attempted to rescue the cat, Coco, previously, and left food and water for the cat when they could not rescue her.
As Judge Michael Hanzman noted while denying Karron’s emergency motion, authorities on the ground had attempted to rescue people and animals from the crumbling structure.
“Despite these Herculean efforts and the tireless, daunting work that has been done, there is going to be loss of life here,” Hanzman said. “Loss of human life and animal life.”
The fear that a beloved pet may still be in a building set for destruction is understandable, and Karron was joined by other pet owners on Sunday who wanted to delay the demolition until any animals remaining in the condo were rescued, the Post reported.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava responded to those concerned about their pets.
“I want to be clear that search and rescue conducted three separate searches, a primary, a secondary and a tertiary. And, they found no animals. I was informed this morning that they did a sweep with cameras and found no animals at this time,” Levine Cava said. “I’ve also been in touch with the contractor and provided locations of animals that were given to me who might be in the building.”
“They are aware and doing everything they might do just to make an additional search,” she added, referring to rescue workers. “But I want to be very clear that they would not be doing that on-site because they are not going to be able to go into those units.”
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