Animal Services Frees Cat Impaled at Construction Site

Animal Control Lt. Eugene Cikanek, left, and Animal Services Medical Operations Manager Dave Johnson, Registered Veterinary Technician prepare to take Johnny to the animal hospital.

Animal Services staff freed and treated a cat that somehow became impaled on a piece of rebar Thursday morning.

On Friday, “Johnny” was recovering at a Pacific Beach animal hospital after undergoing emergency surgery the day before.

“We’re relieved Johnny is going to recover from his terrible ordeal,” said Animal Services Director Dawn Danielson. “I’m proud of how quickly and effectively our staff responded to the emergency. Their care and professionalism illustrates Animal Services’ devotion to the well-being of animals in our community.”

At 9:08 on Thursday morning, County Animal Services received a call about the distressed animal. The responding animal control officer arrived in seven minutes and found the orange short-haired cat on his back, stuck on a metal post that went all the way through his right hind-leg.

It’s not clear how long the kitty had been stuck; his injuries appeared fresh. The cat had apparently jumped or fallen from a wall or the roof of a single-story home and become impaled on the rebar, which was protruding from concrete work on a home under construction.

The animal control officer assessed the situation and called her supervisor, Lt. Eugene Cikanek, who quickly contacted Animal Services Medical Operations Manager Dave Johnson, a Registered Veterinary Technician. Johnson gathered medical supplies, and he and Cikanek rushed to help.

They arrived at 9:40 a.m., finding a panicked cat who thrashed as people approached. Johnson administered a sedative to the suffering animal, and he and Cikanek supported the still-struggling cat until the medicine took effect to protect him from injuring himself further on the post. The pair then carefully lifted the kitty off the rebar, and Johnson bandaged his wounds.

The cat’s owner, who lives next door to the construction site, was at the scene of the rescue. She and Animal Services staff took the cat to Turquoise Animal Hospital, just a mile away. The 5-year-old Johnny is expected to recover full use of his leg.

“He definitely used one of his nine lives yesterday”, Johnson said.

For more information on the County Department of Animal Services, call 619-767-2675 or visit