Visitor:

The absolute cat love of my life, Sunshine, was taken outside of my apartment building in Georgetown, DC in 2002. I posted flyers everywhere and was even contacted by Fox 5 news for an interview (had posted over 1000 on virtually every 3 telephone poles in the area). Apparently numerous other animals (dogs from back yards and cats) had recently become "missing" and the thoughts were for either pit bull bait or medical testing. I wasn't as aware of such practices, but knew that he would never wander…he was just like a sweet dog that never leaves your side.

The odd thing is that one night, I was walking with Sunshine and my other Kitty when, out of nowhere, a foreign couple (sounded Polish or east European) asked if I could call them a taxi. I went inside quickly to retrieve my cell phone and when I came back, they were not there. A very eerie and unsettling feeling came over me, but I let it go and went inside with the kitties (who I typically never let out unless I am with them or close by). I was moving out of this apartment to Virginia in a week and was excited to get out of the city. The next evening, I let the cats outside and went in for some quick dinner. When I came back out, I could not find Sunshine anywhere. Mr. Big, my other kitty, came in immediately.

That was the last time I ever saw Sunshine. Why I didn't pay attention to the other 2 missing pet flyers on my building or follow my instinct that something did not feel right about the strangers continues to haunt me every day. I felt something unsettling with the kitties when these individuals approached me (from somewhat afar), but did not listen to my gut. I lived off of a side street of a major road in DC (Wisconsin Avenue) where taxis are always readily available at all hours of the night. I believe this couple may have been scouting out my cats and didn’t take them when I went inside because it would have been too risky and short a window before I returned. Obviously, I can not be positive that this couple was responsible, but the situation was very unusual. According to the DC Humane Society and the reporter from Fox 5, such an animal "sweep" took place the year prior around the American University neighborhoods.

It is difficult to cope with the thought that Sunshine could still be alive somewhere suffering in a laboratory. No laboratory would ever admit to using stolen pets, so I hit a brick wall very quickly when attempting to try and find him again From your experience, are there ways to locate these class B dealers and if so, how? I pray for my sweet orange tabby every day and hope that his life in confinement was brief.

I just wish I knew that he was in spirit or somewhere safe.

If you have any information on these dealers that you think would be useful, I would sincerely appreciate it. I would also be interested in helping with your efforts with laboratory animals.

Sincerely,

Dana Heaton

(202) 270-8083

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