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Laredo, Texas Animal Control Officer Jose Aranda, had only been on the job about four months when he faced a fire to save 45 cats. Before the job, he served the city for over 11 years.

Late Saturday, January 8, around 10 p.m., Aranda arrived at the local shelter and noticed smoke coming from the cat shelter roof, reported the Laredo Morning Times. 

Laredo Animal Control

Laredo Animal Shelter via YouTube/ KGNT.tv

Inside the small room, the cats were inside stainless steel cages. Although Aranda put himself at considerable risk, he decided to enter the building to save the cats. It was an extremely brave decision.

“I proceeded to open the door and saw a bunch of cats there, so I started releasing the cats before they got burned,” he said, putting it very modestly.

Laredo Animal Shelter via KGNT.tv

Laredo Animal Shelter via KGNT.tv

Would You Have Faced the Fire? 

Had it been another person, would they have taken such a risk?

“I love my job,” said Aranda. Then, he suggested, “I think that if I was another person, I probably wouldn’t have gone in to save these animals,” he said. “I could’ve easily waited outside until they (fire department) came, and God would have known what could have happened to those cats.”

Laredo Animal Control, cat

Cat via Facebook/ Laredo Animal Care Services

When fire crews arrived, Aranda had helped all the cats get outside the building. Then, they began extinguishing the fire with no loss of life. Meanwhile, the cause of the fire is under investigation. 

According to KGNS.TV, the cats made it safely to another location of the property.

Kittens via Facebook/ Laredo Animal Control

Kittens via Facebook/ Laredo Animal Care Services

After saving all the cats, the officer went to the hospital due to the excessive heat and smoke inhalation causing dizziness. Fortunately, doctors cleared him to return home, but it was very late, at 3 a.m. Meanwhile, his family worried about their dad. 

Jesus Aranda

Mayor Pete Saenz and the rest of City Council gather for a photo with Jose E. Aranda and his family, Kristina Garza, Timothy Aranda and Jose Aranda, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, at City Hall as Aranda is recognized for saving 45 cats from a fire at the Laredo Animal Care Services facility. Danny Zaragoza /Laredo Morning Times

A Hero for His Son and Laredo

From the hospital, Aranda talked to his 6-year-old-son, Jesus Jr., via Facetime. His son was thrilled to learn about the cats. No doubt, he must see his father as a hero.

“He was very happy that I saved the cats. He loves cats, we have two at home,” Aranda said.

Kittens via Facebook

Then, Mayor Pete Saenz and the city council praised the officer on Jan. 18, bestowing a Certificate of Recognition for his bravery that day. At the council meeting, Aranda’s family and supervisor joined him to receive the certificate.

“His courage and prompt actions, risking his own life to protect these pets, is merit and is recognized…” wrote Texas Border Business.

When Aranda spoke, he thanked the Laredo Fire Department and Animal Care Services.

According to KGNS, Councilmember Alberto Torres believed Aranda’s arrival so late at night was miraculous.

“By an act of God, he happened to be there. He was there to feed the animals when this unfortunate circumstance and event happened,” said Torres.

In addition, KGNS featured Aranda as a “Hometown Hero” for going above and beyond his duties.

Rescuing Pets by Adopting Them

After rescuing the cats from the fire, Aranda encouraged the community to rescue them for good – by adopting them.

“Whoever is looking to adopt a cat or a dog, we have plenty of options to choose from. It’s open to the public and it’s free adoption, and they’ll get spayed and neutered. So, I think it’s a win-win for everybody,” Aranda said. “I encourage everyone to come out here and see if they’ll adopt one.”

If you are in the Laredo area, you can find a pet for adoption on their Facebook page as well as the Laredo Animal Protective Society (LAPS).

Featured image: screenshot via KGNT.tv and cats via Facebook/ Laredo Animal Services

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