Southern Utah family’s traffic stop on road trip turns into missing cat rescue

Sep 27, 2023, 10:44 PM | Updated: Mar 5, 2024, 3:36 pm

LA VERKIN, Washington County — A routine traffic stop took a surprising twist for a southern Utah family on their way home to Newcastle.

“I saw that I was getting pulled over and thought ‘Oh no,’” Jennifer Hayes said.

Hayes had just been visiting family when she was pulled over in La Verkin by Deputy Allen with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

“It was just a simple traffic stop for a minor violation,” he said. “I could hear a cat purring, and I thought that was super odd. It’s not a standard thing.”

Allen said he walked to the front of Hayes’ car and saw a furry paw sticking out of the car’s grill.

He is heard on body camera video saying he found a gray cat. The driver immediately responded, “Yup! It’s Gus.”

Raw body cam video of rescue

“She let me know that her cat has been missing for a couple days,” Allen said about the interaction.

Hayes said the family cat had gone missing a day and half before. In that time, they had driven about 200 miles.

“We were hearing meowing but it just didn’t dawn on me that it might have been Gus because I had checked the engine,” Hayes said. “It was so sad, I mean he was like stuck in like the grill area.

The entire rescue was caught on body cam, where you can see the two pulling the cat from the car’s grill.

“I’ve got both feet, can you poke that arm? Yeah, there we go. Oh Gus! You got him? Are you OK?”

The 6-month-old cat was not injured. It was the ending his family had hoped for.

“My son was saying, of course, that it’s an answer to a prayer and that thank goodness we got pulled over,” Hayes said. “I mean he really did see Deputy Allen as the hero.”

It’s a title Allen doesn’t take lightly, saying even though unconventional, he’s glad he was the one who made the traffic stop that night.

“I think next time I will handle it exactly the same way,” Allen said.

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Southern Utah family’s traffic stop on road trip turns into missing cat rescue