It was just an ordinary day of crushing trash until they heard the sound – a tiny, high-pitched noise. What’s more, that sound was coming from the back of their truck. While fearing what they might find, the trashmen followed the commotion among the garbage. And as they searched, the noise became steadily louder.
The waste collectors in question were employees of Harold Adam Refuse Removal in Reading, Pennsylvania. In April 2017 the two men were just finishing their rounds for the day and disposing of the trash. And although it might sound simple, that process is actually quite dangerous.
That’s because the rear of a garbage vehicle is really a giant compactor. The collectors throw trash into it, and the mechanism uses pressure to crush the refuse down. In most cases, the trash is subsequently disposed of at a landfill site or waste transfer station.
But back to the machine itself. Not only is the compactor powerful, but it can also be fatal, as has been proven in the past. Indeed, there could have been another victim if things had gone a little differently on that day in Reading. Fortunately, though, the trash collectors were alert on the Tuesday afternoon in question.
On that afternoon, the trashmen heard a high-pitched noise in the truck’s compactor when they were at the rear of the vehicle. Furthermore, it seemed to be coming from a garbage bag that they had already thrown in and possibly even compacted. Naturally, they felt they had to investigate.
But the pair weren’t prepared for what they found when they looked inside. Within the sack was a young female cat that had presumably been trapped in there on purpose. What’s more, the physical state of the animal provided further evidence of abuse.
In fact, it appeared that the poor creature had been covered in gasoline and left to die. The workers were appalled by what they found and immediately took the cat to the Humane Society of Berks County (HSBC). The staff there were equally horrified.
Not only had the little cat been in constant danger of being crushed, but she had also been trapped in the bag for an estimated six hours. And all that time she had little else to breathe in but fumes from the gasoline she was covered with. Indeed, it was a miracle she was still alive.
As a result, the staff named the cat Miracle Maisy. Fortunately, Maisy seemed to understand that her rescuers were trying to help her. In April 2017 HSBC’s office coordinator, Chelsea Cappellano, told Philadelphia-based station WPVI-TV, “She was so patient as we looked her over for obvious or noticeable injuries.”
Thankfully, HSBC didn’t find any other signs of physical damage, so Maisy’s next stop was the neighboring Humane Veterinary Hospitals (HVH) Reading. And there she was left in the capable hands of Berks County Humane Hospital’s Dr. Kimya Davani. However, Dr. Davani found that although Maisy had no wounds, she was still in terrible condition.
Indeed, how the cat had survived was a mystery. “I’m not sure if she initially actually went through the garbage truck,” Davani told CBS in April 2017. “But… she was in shock, very dehydrated [and] underweight. Her temperature was extremely low – life-threatening.”
“The technicians spent all day bathing and drying her. The gas was so embedded in her fur that she wasn’t drying,” Dr. Davani also explained to WPVI-TV. “And because of this, her internal body temperature had dropped. We had to shave most of her body in order to get her temperature up again.”
She added, “She [was] also very underweight and suffering from skin sensitivity.” And although there were no traces of physical wounds, just the gasoline itself could easily have proven deadly. In fact, Davani was concerned that there may have been some long-term poisoning effects on Maisy’s lungs or brain.
As a result, the cat would need to be monitored as she healed. In the meantime, however, the story of Maisy’s abuse had shocked everyone involved in her rescue. “This is the worst animal cruelty case I’ve ever seen or experienced,” Cappellano said. And she wasn’t alone in her assessment.
Indeed, as the news spread about Miracle Maisy, animal lovers united in their disgust at her treatment. Local authorities, too, were troubled and wanted to take steps to help catch Maisy’s abusers. As a result, a $1,000 reward was offered by Humane Pennsylvania for information about the perpetrators.
As for Maisy, HVH kept a careful eye on her progress. And despite the terrible ordeal she had been through, the cat continued to recover at a reasonable rate. In fact, on April 10, 2017, it was announced that she was finally well enough to be fostered.
Maisy wouldn’t be out of the woods for a while, though; some abnormal readings were found in her bloodwork for a time, and she also displayed a tremor in one of her paws and her tail. However, she made good progress and continued to go from strength to strength. And thanks to skilled doctors and some good old-fashioned TLC, soon her blood was back to normal.
Meanwhile, the little cat had found another human to look after her temporarily and seemed to be adapting well to her new surroundings. “Donna, her new foster mommy, told us that Maisy seems very happy,” Humane Pennsylvania wrote on Facebook in April 2017. “She won’t stop eating and drinking, which is good.” The organization added, “Maisy loves her chin being scratched and having her pretty little head petted for hours!”
And she only improved from there. Indeed, thanks to her refuse collector saviors and all the people involved in her rescue, Maisy is now well enough to start looking for a furrever home. “We are so thankful to these men and the trash company for bringing her in,” Cappellano told WPVI-TV.
“Many people would turn a blind eye in this situation, but they were proactive in getting her the help she needs,” she added. “It’s very fortunate that we have members of our community who care so much about these loving creatures.”