Petey joins PD

The Weekly Vista - - Front Page - KEITH BRYANT kbryant@nwadg.com

Petey, who spent some time as a stray, now has a po­lice de­part­ment look­ing out for her.

The Bella Vista Po­lice De­part­ment has adopted the friendly, year-old two-tone fur­ball.

Ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant Shelly Fred­er­ick said the cat showed up shortly af­ter dis­cus­sions about a po­ten­tial of­fice pet in March.

While po­lice chief James Graves did not want a cat in­side be­cause of po­ten­tial al­lergy is­sues, he did give ap­proval for an out­side cat.

Of­fi­cers saw a tiny, skit­tish black-and-white cat out­side and, even­tu­ally, the then-un­known fe­line let an­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cer Am­ber Bow­man pick her up.

“We heard her me­ow­ing one evening and there she was,” Fred­er­ick said. “Beautiful, beautiful tuxedo.”

Af­ter de­cid­ing to adopt the fluffy stray, she said, the de­part­ment had her spayed. An­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cer Bow­man took her to the vet, and dis­patcher Stacey Wig­gin­ton looked af­ter her,

post-surgery.

She ini­tially lived un­der the of­fi­cers’ bike shed, Fred­er­ick ex­plained, but has since been given a car­rier with wa­ter­proof ma­te­rial over it for shel­ter. A more per­ma­nent shel­ter, she said, may be com­ing down the road.

While po­lice keep food and wa­ter out for Petey, Fred­er­ick said the fe­line still hunts.

“She brought us a dead mouse, so we know she loves us,” she said.

Fred­er­ick ex­plained that the for­merly-timid cat has be­come friendly and so­cia­ble af­ter pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ences with hu­mans.

“She’s very so­cial, very sweet,” she said.

While the cat isn’t likely to be go­ing out on calls, Fred­er­ick ex­plained that she still has a role in the de­part­ment. Petey is a friendly face that of­fi­cers and staff might need from time to time, she said.

“Most of the jobs in this build­ing are very stress­ful, and I think she’s a very good tool for let­ting ev­ery­one de­com­press,” Fred­er­ick said.

Wig­gin­ton, one of the de­part­ment’s dis­patch­ers, was the first to buy food for Petey and gave her a place to stay as she re­cov­ered from surgery.

She said the kitty does help with her job.

“It’s a stress­ful job,” she said. “She just au­to­mat­i­cally brings a smile to your face.”

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

Dis­patcher Stacey Wig­gin­ton holds the po­lice de­part­ment’s cat, Petey.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

Po­lice cat Petey splays out across the side­walk.

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