As tough as cops seem to be, they still have a soft spot for all kinds of situaitons, including animals, after all, their jobs are to help others, including cats, which is what Gretchen Byrne pof the Coral Springs Police Department did. She was having a coffee break while patrolling on the graveyard shift, when a hungry and very pregnant cat came up toe the shopping center parking lot two years ago.
Byrne realized that the soon-to-be momma cat would not last very long on the streets, especially being in the heavily-traveled thoroughfare that was nearby. So, what she decided to do, was to take the cat to the police station, and then on to her home when she got off work. She would then put out a notice with ta with a picture of the cat, on her Instagram site.
Once she did, that’s when things started to happen. She says that people started to contacting her about different stray felines that they had found, and she started to notice that there were a lot of strays behind businesses that she started leaving food for the cats behind the businesses, and those that she could take with her, she would, and she would put them up for adoption on her Instagram.
Byrne explained to PEOPLE, that for every cat she was able to help, there another five or six cats that were in need of homes. She explained that many of the cats were in these alleys because their owners either didn’t want to spay or neuter them, or they were there because they were unwanted, and just dumped off. She went on to explain how horrible she felt for the cats. She says that the problem was an overwhelming problem and although she didn’t feel like she was doing enough, she would do what she could to make a difference.
Byrne works the dayshift with the police department now and she will put the cats she rescues in carriers, then sets the carriers in a corner of the women’s locker room in the police station until the end of her shift every day, and can take them home with her. Once she’s home, she takes a picture of each cat and adds them to her Instagram, listing them as being up for adoption. Before they go to their new home, each cat is also spayed or neutered.
During Byrne’s lunch break, instead of heading off to lunch with colleagues of hers, she uses the time to feed and water the cats. Sometimes she even takes them out to the dispatchers to love on and get some kitty therapy, since they have such stressful jobs.
Byrne is a single lady and has no children, but she has five cats at home, and a four-month-old foster kitten that she named Frank, and who she says may end up as a “foster fail.”
“He was born on a construction trailer and he had a rough start,” she tells PEOPLE. “But everybody is now rooting for me to keep him and it looks like that’s the direction I’m heading. It’s hard to say ‘no’ when you have a soft heart.”
Byrne has taken the time to care about her community in so many ways, not only for protecting people, but cats, too. She wants to give cats the life they deserve and get them off the street where they will surely have short, and even healthy, unhappy lives. She’s already helped several cats, and it looks like many more may be headed to a new life, with Officer Byrne on the beat.