Georgia Woman Is Struck and Nearly Killed by a Motorist while Attempting to Rescue Kittens Dumped in the Middle of a Busy Highway
"Everybody I've helped has helped me so much in a situation that brings it all around. Everything you give you get back."
-- Rachel Honeycutt
It was bound to have happened sooner or later but now that it has befallen a twenty-eight-year-old Georgia woman certainly does not make it any less heartbreaking.
Sometime near the end of June, Rachel Honeycutt was motoring down the hectic East-West Connector in Cobb County when she witnessed two unidentified women tossing an unspecified number of kittens out of their vehicle into the middle of traffic. Being an animal-lover who owns seven cats and one dog, she did not think twice about pulling over, getting out of her car, and mounting a rescue.
She had almost pulled it off but when she bent down to pick up one of the kittens she was blindsided by an oncoming motorist. She was hit so hard in fact that she was knocked seventy-five feet into the air and landed on the far side of the roadway.
Battered and bruised from head to toe, she was rushed to the hospital where she was diagnosed to have suffered a shattered pelvis as well as brain and organ damage. She soon lapsed into a coma which necessitated her being placed on life-support equipment.
Although more than seven weeks have passed since the time of the accident, the good news is that she is now out of intensive care and is going to live. Her prognosis has not been publicly announced but cat-lovers all over the world are praying that she will eventually make a full recovery. (See photo above.)
She has recently regained her memory and that is a positive sign. "I got out to save the kittens," she recalled for WXIA-TV of Atlanta on July 31st. (See "Woman Severely Hurt Saving Kittens.") "Somebody was putting them in the middle of the East-West Connector."
Because of WXIA-TV's elliptical reporting, the fate of the kittens is unknown. The station also fails to mention if she was struck by a hit-and-run motorist or if an arrest has been made in the case.
While the kitten dumpers and the motorist apparently have gotten away scot-free with their evil deeds, the police in an act of infinite callousness have written Honeycutt a citation for being in the roadway. A similar thing happened to sixty-year-old Jozsef Vamosi of Fairfax, Virginia, on June 18th when he was given a ticket for jaywalking after he left his vehicle in order to help a gaggle of Canada geese across the busy Fairfax County Parkway in Reston. (See photo below of him with his dog.)
Fortunately for him, he was not injured. (See Washington Post articles of August 3, 2009 and August 4, 2009 entitled, respectively, "The Helping Hand That Led Geese Safely Across Road Now Holds Ticket" and "Virginia Geese Guardian Given Six Months to Fly Straight.")
In addition to the citation that she received, Honeycutt has skyrocketing medical bills and is in danger of losing her new house. It has been saved for the time being by family members and friends who have been paying her mortgage as well as taking care of her cats and dog.
Having nearly lost her life plus being on the receiving end of so much pain, no one could rightfully blame Honeycutt if she were embittered by her fate. That is hardly the case, however. "I can't believe I'm okay," she instead told WXIA-TV.
If anything, her close call with death has strengthened her resolve and faith in humanity. "Everybody I've helped has helped me so much in a situation that brings it all around," she added. "Everything you give you get back."
This truly tragic case underscores once again what a no man's land the streets and highways have become for both animals and pedestrians. This perilous situation is compounded by faster and quieter running automobiles that are virtually impossible to detect until it is too late.
Distracted drivers as well as those who indulge in alcohol and drugs only serve to make a bad situation worse. The real culprit, however, is the near total disregard that the motoring public has for both animals and pedestrians alike.
Most of them care only about rushing to work so that they can collect their precious shekels and then racing home at night in order to indulge in their various vices. Not only do the rules of the road mean absolutely nothing to them, but a red light is interpreted as a signal to stop wasting time and to step on the gas. A few of them no doubt even get a kick out of running down and killing cats and pedestrians.
Nevertheless, as long as there are cretins in this world who insist upon disposing of unwanted cats and kittens on busy thoroughfares there are going to be kindhearted souls like Honeycutt who are going to be willing to risk their lives in order to save them. "I'm not at all surprised she stopped to save the kittens," Honeycutt's mother, Sheila, told WXIA-TV.
On June 22nd, for example, Carol Jones and her daughter, Kim, risked their necks in order to chase down a six-week-old kitten named Miracle that had been dumped on the McClugage Bridge near their West Peoria, Illinois, home. (See Cat Defender post of July 6, 2009 entitled "Miracle Survives a Drowning Attempt on the McClugage Bridge and Later Hitchhikes a Ride to Safety Underneath the Car of a Compassionate Motorist.")
Earlier on June 12th, Family Court Judge Catherine DiDomenico stopped on Staten Island's busy Hylan Boulevard in order to save the life of a kitten named Lucky that only moments earlier had been tossed out the window of a truck. (See Cat Defender post of July 2, 2009 entitled "Three-Week-Old Lucky Is Rescued by a Staten Island Judge after She Is Tossed Out the Window of a Pickup Truck on Hylan Boulevard.")
On July 31st of last year, Michele Laney of Moyock risked her life in order to rescue a kitten named Trooper after he was tossed out of an automobile on Route 168 South near the North Carolina and Virginia border. (See Cat Defender post of August 28, 2008 entitled "In Memoriam: Trooper Survives Being Thrown from a Speeding Automobile Only to Later Die on the Operating Table.")
Lastly, on Boxing Day of 2006, Catherine Barton of Vero Beach ventured out into traffic a pied in order to save the life of an orange-colored cat named Freeway that had been tossed out of a gray pickup truck on I-95 near Stuart, Florida. "All of a sudden, I see this cat flying in the air," she later recalled. "I was devastated when I saw him. The poor thing bounced as high as my truck." (See Cat Defender post of January 14, 2008 entitled "Freeway Miraculously Survives Being Tossed Out the Window of a Truck on Busy I-95 in South Florida.")
It is precisely the kindness of individuals like Carol and Kim Jones, Judge Catherine DiDomenico, Michele Laney, Catherine Barton, Rachel Honeycutt, and Jozsef Vamosi that keep this wicked old world from spinning out of its orbit. These dedicated and selfless individuals are therefore to be cherished and honored for their heroic deeds.
At the same time it is imperative that they and all other like-minded individuals exercise extreme caution whenever leaving their vehicles in order to rescue cats and other animals. As Rachel has found out, not everyone shares their respect for all living creatures.
It also is unconscionable for the authorities to issue citations to individuals like Honeycutt and Vamosi. She has suffered enough and certainly does not need legal troubles on top of her urgent health and financial needs.
As for Vamosi, eleven geese are alive today thanks to his concern. Moreover, these much maligned birds need all the help that they can get.
For example, earlier this summer the United States Department of Agriculture's death squad, Wildlife Services, began systematically exterminating up to twenty-thousand of them in and around New York City. (See the CBC's As It Happens, June 17, 2009, "New York Kills Geese.")
This barbaric and inhumane decision followed upon the heels of an earlier declaration of war issued against them by none other than the Connecticut Audubon Society. Birders, as it is becoming increasingly known, only care about those avian species that they find financially attractive. (See Cat Defender post of March 15. 2007 entitled "Connecticut Audubon Society Shows Its True Colors by Calling for the Slaughter of Feral Cats, Mute Swans, Mallards, Canada Geese, and Deer.")
Much more pertinently, streets and highways would not be such deathtraps for both animals and pedestrians if the police would enforce the existing traffic laws. After all, public thoroughfares should be shared but that is a dirty word in America.
In conclusion, although it is tempting to sarcastically congratulate the kitten dumpers for the pain and suffering that they have caused Rachel, that would be a total waste of time. Anyone capable of dumping kittens in traffic is equally incapable of feeling an ounce of remorse for what they have done to one of their would-be rescuers.
Photos: WXIA-TV (Honeycutt) and Linda Vamosi (Jozsef and his dog).