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Winchester Resident Honored with The HSUS' Circle of Compassion Award

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to announce that Helio Cabral of Winchester, Mass., has been presented with the Circle of Compassion Award for his heroic rescue of a cat who was stranded in a tree. The award recognizes individuals who have performed an act of significant courage or compassion to assist an animal in need.

Last month, Cabral came to the rescue after his neighbor's cat, who is named Mittens, climbed 60 feet up a tree. The cat, who is blind and disabled, was unable to get down on her own. Sharon Paquette, who is Cabral's neighbor, had tried to climb the tree to save her pet, but got stuck herself. Firefighters responded and helped Paquette down, but decided it was too dangerous to go higher for Mittens.

Helio's wife Tricia heard about her neighbor's trouble and quickly informed her husband. Helio owns a local tree and landscaping business, and had the equipment and experience necessary to rescue Mittens. Although the two families had never met before, Helio immediately offered his assistance to the distraught family. An hour later, he finally reached Mittens and lowered her to the ground using a sheet and pulley system. Thanks to Helio's compassion and determination, Mittens was reunited with her family.

"The Circle of Compassion Award is designed to honor people who go to great lengths to help an animal in need," said Colin Berry, director of innovations at The HSUS. "Cabral's willingness to come to the aid of Mittens is an inspiration to others who may find themselves in a position to help an animal in distress."

Click here for tips on transitioning an outdoor cat into a safe indoor cat.


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.