A social media campaign and certification as a therapy animal weren’t enough to keep Edna in the only home she’s ever known: Station 49 in San Francisco.
In a statement, the San Francisco Fire Department said that “public health and safety concerns counseled removal of the cat from the premises.” This action was taken after an anonymous complaint against the cat was filed.
“To clarify what has been reported in the media, the workplace in question is not a Fire Station,” the statement reads. “This facility is the Department’s Ambulance Deployment Facility. Within this facility is Department Logistics, where medical supplies, equipment and pharmaceuticals used by ambulance staff to provide crucial lifesaving emergency health care are housed.”
However, Irene Ybarra, the paramedic in charge of EMS logistics at Station 49 until June 2017, told SFGATE that she did not find the SFFD statement to be accurate.
“When I was at Station 49 I developed the medical supply in such a way that Edna was not able to get into the clean room,” Ybarra said. “The items are usually boxed up, and it’s not something [Edna] is usually in the habit of getting on top of. She had her own specific spot, a box with blanket in it. Edna has never been a issue.”
Edna was not given a one-way ride to the pound by Animal Control. An employee has purrvided a temporary home until a forever home can be found. Ybarra had planned to adopt her once she was settled in a Pacific Northwest home, but won’t be able to do that for several months. (Ibarra, who was one of the employees that originally started feeding Edna and enticing her to become a station cat, retired from the department in 2017.)
Employees tearfully bid Edna goodbye on Monday as she embarked on the next chapter in her life. On Thursday they ordered to comply with a cease and desist order instructing them not to discuss the identity of the person who filed the anonymous complaint that led to Edna’s eviction:
“The San Francisco Fire Department received a report alleging that Station 49 Personnel are openly speculating while on duty about the possible identity of the anonymous complainant that resulted in the removal of the cat from the workplace,” the order reads.
“Effective immediately, I hereby order all Station 49 Personnel to cease and desist from any communication regarding the identity of the anonymous complainant while at work or using SFFD-issued devices or email accounts on or off-duty, or from engaging in any on or off-duty conduct that may violate any of the CCSF’s laws and policies regarding anonymous complaints. Conduct of this nature includes, but is not limited to, rumor-mongering and mistreatment of co-workers.”