This week, local Raleigh, NC ABC11 TV News revisited the story of Russell, the world-famous and beloved cat who is in the final stages of his recovery from burns sustained in a January, 2014 fire that destroyed his home.
The channel’s Troubleshooter feature recapped Russel’s story and visited him at Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care, where he continues to heal from the severe burns that have kept him a patient for just over a year, during which time Russell’s healing journey has been followed and supported by thousands of animal lovers from all over the world.
The video report on Russell is a reminder on how far he has come since being found 4 days after the fire and progressing through the stages of healing that have him now nearly recovered from his burns and their aftereffects.
Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care has always planned to send Russell home to his petmom Leta May Strickland when he is ready and her home has been fully rebuilt and furnished, and that is still the plan.
Despite the fact that she is widely known to have lost everything in the fire that destroyed her home, Ms. Strickland was been badly served and taken advantage of by a contractor hired to rebuild her home.
She hired Kevin Marsh from “We Do….Construction,” of Eastover, N.C. and paid him more than $24,000 to get started.
“Every time I gave him money, he said that’s not enough, I need more money,” she said.
Ms. Strickland continued to pay Marsh, but she questioned whether the work was done correctly.
“They were putting all that burnt stuff up,” she said. “He told the inspector he had done 50 percent of the work and he hadn’t done anything inside the house.”
Strickland’s mortgage company was holding the remaining insurance money and sent an inspector to her house to see the progress. A representative with the mortgage company said it was then that their inspector found only 10 percent of the house was repaired, despite more than $40,000 of insurance money paid out.
She fired Marsh and wanted her money back. But Marsh didn’t pay up; in fact, he wrote a letter and claimed he was not paid any money. He also claimed that she owed him $123,000.
Another licensed contractor stepped in to help Ms. Strickland rebuild her home.
With her home finished, Ms. Strickland still needed the rest of her insurance payout, which was tied up due to the trouble with her first contractor. ABC!!’s Troubleshooter got in touch with Wells Fargo, which agreed to work with Ms. Strickland and her new contractor and released the final payment of $57,000.
Ms. Strickland says now all she needs is Russell, who is nearly ready to leave his friends at the animal hospital and join her back at home.
The first news video below is about Russell and the second covers Ms. Strickland’s issue with the contractor. Below the videos are some recent photos of Russell from Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care’s Facebook page.