ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A St. Petersburg woman says her cat is dead after a pest control company showed up too early to tent her home for termites.
Caroline Stadler recently moved into a home in St. Petersburg and discovered termites.
Like many Florida homeowners, she learned the most effective way to get rid of the termites is to hire a pest control company to tent her entire home.
The company then releases deadly gas into the home that kills termites – and anything else living inside.
Pest control companies advise clients that all pets and people must be removed from the home before the process can begin.
Stadler hired Terminix for the job and tells 8 On Your Side she had a contract stating they would show up at 3 p.m. Monday to begin the work.
“I was supposed to get off work at 1 p.m. and I was going to come by and get my cat and get all my stuff and get out. But when I pulled up around 1:30, my house was already tented with my cat inside,” said Stadler.
To her horror, Stadler realized the workers had already released the deadly gas. They would not allow her to go inside to get her cat, Dahlia.
“My cat, she hides, she’s scared of everything. If she saw people that she didn’t know, was in a situation that she wasn’t familiar with, she’s going to hide and I assume that’s what happened. She hid under my bed and you can’t see her when she hides,” said Stadler.
A worker put on a gas mask and went inside. They found her cat, but it was already dead.
“They didn’t even know a cat was in there and Terminix was supposed to tell them that an animal was in there,” said Stadler.
She feels it should have been obvious to the workers there was an animal in the house.
“They saw a litter box, they saw food, they could have seen that I wasn’t ready,” said Stadler.
Her neighbors found her in front of her house, on her knees, sobbing.
“That’s her family member, it’s not just a cat okay. It’s someone she’s had with her a long time, she cares about and the attitude of these people was just that they didn’t care,” said her neighbor Romeo Desrosiers.
Terminix issued the following statement to 8 On Your Side:
“We were recently made aware of the incident involving a fumigation at a customer’s home. The safety and satisfaction of our customers is our top priority, and we are looking into the matter internally with our preferred fumigation service provider.”
Stadler says nothing will bring back her beloved cat.
“I’m mad, I’m very mad and I’m sad,” said Stadler.