OXNARD, Calif. - Oxnard police are asking for the return of one of their cage traps this weekend after it disappeared overnight from a manhole while waiting to capture an orphaned kitten.
Police said Thursday afternoon, a City of Oxnard employee named Young Lee was walking to his car in the parking lot of a local business when he heard a kitten meowing in distress.
Lee began searching for the cat and discovered the sound was coming from a nearby storm drain. He then called Oxnard Police's non-emergency line for help.
The police department said Officer Richard Bell responded and reported seeing the kitten in distress, curled into its mother who appeared to have died some time ago.
Police said they were not able to get the manhole cover off on their own, fortunately, Val Solinap, owner of nearby business Bimmers & Benz Service, saw the struggle and offered his auto shop tools to help.
Officers said the tools worked and the manhole was pried off. They then lowered a trap with food into the storm drain and the hungry kitten crawled straight inside.
The police department said Young Lee was so pleased that the stray kitten was safe, he decided to adopt it.
However, as all crews cleaned up and prepared to leave the scene, more faint meows were heard from the storm drain.
After looking inside, Animal Safety Officer Amador Martinez spotted a second kitten and lowered the trap back down the drain.
Unfortunately, the second kitten did not take the bait like its sibling. Officer Martinez decided it would be best to leave the trap in the drain overnight in hopes of finding the kitten inside the next morning.
Upon returning early Friday, Officer Martinez said he found both the trap and kitten missing from the storm drain.
Oxnard Police said they hope that a concerned citizen read their story and wanted to rescue and adopt the kitten, pulling it out with the trap.
Police are now asking whoever took the trap to do the right thing and return it, as it is property of the City of Oxnard.
Animal Safety Officer Martinez uses the traps often during various injured animal rescues.
Police said the trap can be dropped off near the Property Window on the C Street side of the Oxnard Police station and no questions will be asked.