On a bright late May morning, a brown-haired woman had just dropped off her daughter at school, when she saw an unusual orange dot poking out from underneath a nearby school bus idling at Ives Dairy Road and I-95.
It was a kitten, laced with black stripes, petrified and alone.
The woman got out of her car, yelled at the bus driver to slow, and whooshed the kitten out from underneath the bus and into her arms.
Immediately, she felt protective and maternal. "I loved the kitten," Mirzza Weinstock recalls. But did the kitten need some sort of care?
So that evening, she whisked it off to the Broward County Animal Control, just miles away. "This is where the unfortunate story starts," she says. A worker at the Animal Control told Weinstock that without someone to adopt the kitten, the center would euthanize the cat. Weinstock balked.
"I told her my intention wasn't to give up the cat, but to drop him off to check if it was sick or needed preventive vaccines," Weinstock says. "I informed her that I would definitely come back with someone to adopt it."
She said workers were disinterested in the fate of the cat, and left the Animal Control that night, uncertain and with a dark feeling. "I left thinking that the people working there do not represent people who care for pets," she said.
The next morning, a Saturday, Weinstock said she decided to adopt the cat, and claims she told the center of her intentions to return on Sunday morning for the kitten.
"I woke [that morning] very excited to go and finally save the cat," Weinstock says. "I went with my daughter, but the first thing that I heard upon arrival is that they had already euthanized the kitten that very same morning."
Frantic, she says she asked for some sort of explanation. But it was already too late.
An Animal Control employee, who'd been working those shelters at the time and requests anonymity, tells New Times the cat shouldn't have been euthanized. To do so was a violation of Florida Animal Control Association guidelines, the employee claims. FACA policy says stray animals have a minimum of 72 hours before they're put down.
The kitten in question, however, had been at the shelter less than 48 hours.
According to this source and a "euthanization report" sent to New Times, the Animal Control wrote the kitten -- referenced as an "orange tiger" -- had actually been at the shelter for the full 72 hours, when that wasn't true. What's more, the euthanization report also says no adoption had been available, even though Weinstock says she told workers of her plan to adopt the cat.
"This kitten was not injured or ill," the source says. "On the Euthanasia log, you can see that they wrote it was 72 hours, which would be falsifying documents. It says no foster. Although, there would have been if they did things the right way."
Animal Control spokesperson Lisa Mendheim says she's "unfamiliar with the situation," but would check into the complaint, and provide a response.