Episode 1 – “Mitsy is Missing!”
“The Stories of Animal Control Officers Joe Tuesday and Bill Cannon”
(With a nod to Jack Web’s ‘Dragnet’ TV series…)
By Keith Kaniut
We had just returned to the office after a successful code ‘333’ – turtle rescue and resuscitation – when the call came in. I picked up.
“Animal Control Division. Sergeant Tuesday.”
I listened. “Yes ma’am? OK, we’ll be right there.” I hung up and my partner Bill looked at me, eyebrows raised. I answered his unspoken question. “Bill, we have another ‘125’.”
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“Yep. ‘Mitsy’ again.”
Bill rolled his eyes.
‘Mitsy’, is a Felis catus and a member of the ‘Scottish Fold’ breed (you can tell by the brogue, and how they sit…). She’s the pampered pet of 82 year old widow Mrs. Marla Meyers. Normally, Mitsy stays close to home (and food) but sometimes she wanders off. That’s when we get the call.
It was a frequent run so we knew the way. As we rolled up Mrs. Meyers stepped onto the porch looking distraught.
“Good morning Mrs. Meyers. Has Mitsy returned?”
From her appearance the question was unnecessary but I’m teaching the Bill to never assume.
“No! She’s still gone! I can’t find her anywhere. This is so un-like her… “
“Never mind ma’am. We’ll find her. Just tell us what happened.”
“Well, I went to that grocery store “A Felines Finest Friend” down on Pine St. to buy cat food – you can’t imagine how much that cat eats! – I ran into my dearest friend Louise. We started talking about …”
(several minutes later…) “… and that’s when I noticed that she had this piece of spinach stuck in her teeth. I had to say something!” she said (somewhat theatrically I thought).
“Louise said she had a lovely spinach quiche for breakfast and I said ‘What?!”
“Ah yes. I was away longer than usual because Louise and I ended up going to lunch at that new cute place on the corner called ‘Cat’s Meow’. Their entire menu has a cat food theme like ‘Tuna Surprise’ and ‘Mousie Chocolate Mousse’. Very cute! Have you been there yet?”
“No ma’am. Not yet. So, when you returned home?…”
“Well, like I was saying, she was gone. I called and called and even put out her favorite food and still nothing.” She tearfully added “I’m not sure what I’m going to do if anything happened to her.”
“That’s OK ma’am. We’ll find your fugitive feline. It’s what we do.”
Bill and I searched the property looking for bloody cat fur or a freshly chewed cat bone. Nothing. No feathers from large raptors either. Though well overfed, Mitsy isn’t a large cat.
Then I noticed a kid – looked to be about 10 – across the street and a few doors down with a paintball gun. We crossed the street and drew our ID badges.
“What’s your name son?”
“Who’s watching you today Danny?”
“Drew. But I call him ‘Dad’.”
I nodded. Bill made a note. “You have a last name kid?”
“’Dawson. My dad says not to bother him when he’s working.”
“Is he working now?”
“Are you making a joke kid?”
“Don’t. That’s my job.”
We continued to the front door. Bill knocked and a few seconds later a middle-aged man answered the door.
“Mr. Drew Dawson?”
“Actually, I’m Drew’s older brother Dave, just here to help clean up some dust from a drywall repair in the den. But I can get him for you.” He went back inside. Bill updated his notes.
Then a younger version of Dave opened the door. I tried again.
“Mr. Drew Dawson?”
“I’m Sgt. Joe Tuesday and this is my partner Bill” We flashed our ACO ID’s. “We’re with animal control and investigating the disappearance of Mrs. Meyer’s cat Mitsy.”
“The ‘Scottish Fold’?”
“A strange-looking breed. Short ears. They sit funny – legs outstretched. And that ‘Mitsy’ reminds me of a funny-eared ground hog. But at least they’re quiet. I’m a dog person myself. Anyway, how can I help?”
“Can I ask what you do sir? For my report?”
“I like to draw dinosaurs.”
“For a living?”
“I wish. No, I just like to draw them dirty and drinking.”
I knew I was going to regret my next question.
“Sir, may I ask why they’re dirty and drinking?”
“Well, obviously they didn’t have showers or bathtubs back then and became really dirty.”
“And they had to drink a lot of water because of the heat.”
Yep. Regretting that question already. I had to end this now and said helpfully “Sure. So, you’re not an artist?
“No. An accountant. It’s my day off.” I nodded and made a note.
“Sir, do you mind if we ask Danny a few questions? He’s been out here playing and might have seen something.”
“Sure Sergeant. Danny – please help Sergeant Tuesday.”
I checked Bill’s notes to ensure he’d gotten all that. They read:
“Drew Dawson, draws dirty drinking dinosaurs on day off. Brother Dave Dawson doing drywall dust cleanup in den.”
I nodded my approval and turned towards Danny.
“I didn’t shoot Mrs. Meyer’s cat!” Danny suddenly exclaimed as he casually tried to push a paintball gun out of sight under the bushes.
“That your paintball gun Danny?”
“I don’t have – oh, that one. No. It’s my brother’s.”
“What’s his name?”
“Dawson – after my dad.”
“Your dad’s middle name is ‘Dawson’?”
“No. It’s Dirk.”
I let it go.
“Any good with it? Could you hit that mailbox across the street?”
He rolled his eyes. “No sir. I’m good like in my yard and can even hit moving anima – …” He stopped.
“Animals? You can hit moving targets like squirrels? Rabbits?”
Finally he admitted “Most of the time I can…”
“Any chance you ‘accidentally’ took a shot at Mrs. Meyer’s cat?”
Mr. Dawson interrupted “Danny! You didn’t shoot Mitsy?!”
“No! I was shooting at the squirrels and she was chasing them. I don’t like squirrels much. They steal the food in our birdfeeder. I think Mitsy is somewhere over there sleeping in the bushes.” He pointed.
Bill and I checked under the bushes and sure enough, there was our missing Mitsy – sleeping upright against the wall with her legs outstretched like she was in a chair. Typical Scottish fold position I thought. I started to say something to Bill but he cut in.
“Typical Scottish Fold Joe.” I nodded, pleased.
She was unharmed and un-painted so we retrieved and returned her to Mrs. Meyers.
As usual, Mrs. Meyers expressed her gratitude with cookies and milk.
“That’s OK ma’am. It’s what we do….Good cookies ma’am.”
Just then my phone rang. I listened and motioned urgently for Bill to follow me back to the truck.
“We have a 1010.”
Bill checked his memory. “A poisonous snake?”
“Yes. Somewhere in the 5th grade science classroom. Everyone is standing on their desks.”
“Can I handle this one Joe? I need the experience!”
That was just what I was thinking. “Sure kid. It’s yours.”
As we pulled away from the curb Bill looked at me expectantly. “Joe, the siren?
“Sure. Let’s do it.”
And so we did.
Stay Tuned to Blue Water Healthy Living for more episodes of “The Stories of Animal Control Officers Joe Tuesday and Bill Cannon”.