Cedartown resident Leah Beck and her seven-year-old daughter were placing cardboard into the recycling bin at the Polk County Convenience Center on Davis Road when Beck heard the distressed cries of a cat.
“I would say that I heard it meow, but it was worse than that. Just heartbreaking,” Beck explained.
Beck and her daughter searched for the cat and eventually Leah was able to catch sight of it through an opening at the bottom of the dumpster.
“I don’t know how it ended up there, but the cat just happened to be in a spot where I could look through the hole and see that it was there. It looked so pitiful and its cries were just as bad.”
As a self-professed animal lover, Beck was not about to leave without freeing the cat.
“I had started to look around for a ladder or some way to get into the dumpster, when a man approached us and said, ‘you’re not going to get in there,’ and instead, he climbed over the side and jumped in.”
The man was Polk County resident Mike Burchfield, a man who Beck says deserves credit for his unselfish act of compassion. “I know it’s small in the grand scheme of things, but for him to jump in and help was just so great.”
Beck said that the cat was under layers and layers of wet cardboard.
“The dumpster was nearly full, so it was trapped under several feet, close to nine feet probably, of heavy cardboard. Mr. Burchfield didn’t hesitate to dig through it all, with his bare hands in order to free the cat.”
Beck said the rescue took 30 to 45 minutes, and afterwards, a very grateful and scared calico cat sprang out of the dumpster and fled into nearby woods. She went back several days later in attempt to find the cat, but was unsuccessful.
Though the cat has yet to be found, Beck said that if Burchfield hadn’t stepped in when he did, the cat would have probably suffered a slow death.
“Like I said, I know some people may think it’s insignificant, but I don’t,” Beck said. “A lot of what we read and hear about in the news today is bad and I just wanted to share a good story about a good person that helped save an animal’s life.”