September 15, 2023

City Workers Save Kitten Stuck in City Hall Storm Drain



RAPID CITY, SD—A kitten was saved Wednesday afternoon from a storm drain in the City Hall parking lot, just hours before rain fell in the downtown area.

            The saga began Wednesday around lunch time when City building inspector Lon Schnittgrund was heading to his car in the City Hall parking lot. He heard a noise coming from the storm drain and discovered the young kitten who had slipped through the grate and found itself in a big predicament. 

            A call was made to the City’s Utility Maintenance Department and crew members Troy Landry and Chad Wilczynski arrived quickly on scene to open the grate. Several City employees had gathered during the lunch period to provide support and help coax the kitten to safety.  Landry and Wilczynski descended into the storm drain box but the kitten, estimated at between four to six weeks of age, had been scared by the commotion and descended into the storm drain.

            Despite the coaxing efforts of many City employees, the kitten stayed put – apparently finding the depths and darkness of the storm drain more comforting than wanting to exit and make new friends with City workers.  City planner Alex Osborne even used some meatballs from his lunch, hoping to entice the kitten to safety, but the kitten was having none of it.

           The Humane Society provided a rescue cage which was set in the storm drain and employees took turns throughout the afternoon checking on the kitten to see if it came out for the food. Landry and Wilczynski opened nearby grates and worked to lure the kitten to safety but the kitten stayed put.

            Finally around 4 p.m., City electrician Mark Preble noticed the kitten in the cage.  With the help of IT analyst Steve Baumker, the pair lifted the grate, Preble descended into the box and brought the kitten out to safety.  The rescue came just in time as the downtown area experienced rain during the evening and overnight hours Wednesday night.

            The kitten went home with two City employees for the night and spent Thursday at the Utility Maintenance Department making new friends and finding a permanent home with one of the employees. 

             The kitten has been given the name ‘Stormy’.

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