SPOTLIGHT BRIEFS

Rescue group in crisis mode after cat euthanized

Daniel Dockery is shown at his job in Phoenix, Ariz., on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011. Dockery's  9-month-old cat Scruffy, was euthanized recently by the Arizona Humane Society not because of her wounds but because Dockery couldn't immediately pay for her treatment.
Charlie Leight | AP
Daniel Dockery is shown at his job in Phoenix, Ariz., on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011. Dockery's 9-month-old cat Scruffy, was euthanized recently by the Arizona Humane Society not because of her wounds but because Dockery couldn't immediately pay for her treatment.
Posted Dec. 28, 2011, at 10:12 p.m.

PHOENIX — Animal lovers threatened to pull donations to an animal rescue group and the public flooded the agency with scathing comments and calls after a man’s cat was euthanized when he couldn’t afford its medical care, prompting the Arizona Humane Society to go into damage-control mode Wednesday.

The group has hired a publicist, removed dozens of comments on its Facebook page and directed a team of five volunteers to respond to the overwhelming calls and emails it has received since The Arizona Republic published a weekend story about Daniel Dockery and his 9-month-old cat, Scruffy.

Dockery, a 49-year-old recovering heroin addict, told the Phoenix newspaper that he took Scruffy to a Humane Society center on Dec. 8 because she had a cut from a barbed-wire fence, an injury that he described as non-life-threatening. The agency said it would cost $400 to treat Scruffy, money he didn’t have.

The Humane Society cited policy when it declined to accept a credit card over the phone from Dockery’s mother in Michigan or to wait for her to wire the money. The staff said if he signed papers surrendering the cat, Scruffy would be treated and put in foster care, he said.

Instead, Scruffy was euthanized several hours later.

2 planes make emergency landings at Vt. airport

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. — A Vermont airport has responded to two emergency landings in one day.

A Delta flight carrying 33 passengers and three crew members landed safely Wednesday afternoon. No injuries were reported.

A spokesman for regional jet operator Pinnacle Airlines says the main passenger door was making a noise. He says the flight was cancelled and passengers were booked into hotels because the crew had reached the maximum time allowed to remain on duty. The passengers are expected to fly to Quebec on Thursday.

Earlier in the day a Chicago-bound United Airlines regional jet made an emergency landing at the two-runway Burlington International Airport shortly after takeoff.

United spokesman Rahsaan Johnson says a cockpit indicator light erroneously alerted the flight crew to smoke in the cargo hold. He says passengers flew in a different plane to Chicago and landed safely.

Fresh floods strain Philippine relief, rescue operations

MANILA, Philippines — Fresh floods in the Philippines have strained ongoing relief and rescue operations for the victims of Tropical Storm Washi, which has killed more 1,200 and left hundreds of thousands homeless, officials said Wednesday.

The new floods affected 14 provinces in the country’s east coast and southern region after days of heavy rains. Four people drowned when their boat capsized in the north-east province of Isabela, while two others died in the central province of Cebu.

Benito Ramos, administrator of the Office of Civil Defense, said relief and rescue operations were being stretched by the fresh floods as soldiers, police officers and volunteers were dispatched to help more than 53,000 new victims.

“We’re working double time because of the new floods, but we’re pushing ahead,” he said. “Luckily authorities were able to implement pre-emptive evacuations in the new areas affected by the floods so there are few casualties.”

Ramos said the death toll in floods triggered by Washi stood at 1,249, down from earlier estimates of 1,453. A further 84 were still confirmed missing, while reports of more than 1,000 unaccounted-for victims were being verified.

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