Cat In A Tree? Don’t Call The Dudley Fire Department


Taylor Lundquist

THE LAKE 940 AUDIO: Listen to Dudley Fire Chief Dean Kochanowski explain the reason why his department can not send his fire trucks out to rescue animals from trees.

Audio courtesy of Town of Dudley (Youtube)

Sure, firefighters have those big expensive trucks with the really long ladders, but they are to be used for fighting fires — not rescuing cats or other animals from trees.  That is what was the subject that was brought up at a recent Dudley Board Of Selectmen meeting.

On February 3rd, during one of the coldest stretches of the year, Dawn Lundquist made a phone call to the Dudley Fire Department about a cat that appeared to be stuck in a tree for several days on West Main Street near the Webster line.  After not liking the response from the firefighter who answered the call, Dawn’s daughter Taylor took to social media.

In the post Taylor wrote, the Dudley Fire Department was no help, “and extremely rude.”  Her post went on to say, the person who answered the call said he “never saw a cat skeleton in a tree before, and they have 9 lives” assuming the cat would either fall out of the tree or come down on its own.

Whether it is true or not, that firefighter ended up getting disciplined for being unprofessional and sarcastic, according to the fire chief’s comments at the meeting.

Dudley Fire Chief Dean Kochanowski was away at that weekend and found out about the call on social media.  He declined to give the identity of the firefighter who took the call, but did admit they “probably didn’t handle the call correctly and I will apologize to the public” for the comments that were made.

The Chief then went into some of the reasons why firefighters can’t use their equipment to get animals out of trees, including the safety of the firefighters.  While trying to rescue the animal the firefighter could fall or get bitten by the animal causing more problems.  Also, Chief Kochanowski says, “the ladder truck will not go in between branches without causing damage to the ladder.

To put it simply, “It’s not something we’re equipped to do.”

Before his closing comments at the meeting, Chief Kochanowski invited anyone to visit him at the station to meet with him on this issue as he is “more than happy to speak” to anybody adding his department will “go out on a limb and do anything for the public” because that is what they are there for.

Ryan Sansoucy (Facebook)

Seth Morin told THE LAKE 940 that his friend Ryan Sansoucy, owner of Precision Trade Works

of Woodstock, successfully did what Dudley’s Fire Department couldn’t do.  Seth says, Ryan “climbed up the tree and knocked the cat out and I caught it, put her down and she took off.”  Even though Ryan has over 15 years of experience in high-risk tree work, saving animals from trees is not his specialty.  His website mentions, “there’s no project too complex or dangerous for us to handle.”

We reached out to the Dudley Fire Department for comment, but were told “the Fire Chief does not work on the weekends. You can call next week,” which is kind of how this whole thing got started in the first place.

If you have over 3 hours and want to watch the full meeting, the video is below.  Fast forward to 1:53:40 to watch the Chief Kochanowski (or easier, just click the play button on the audio at the top of this article)