Ertl the cat removed from Tractor Supply Co.



Heather Steele of Tractor Supply Co. had her cat, Ertl, evicted from the store premises during pet appreciation week, while she was on vacation Aug. 11-18. She said Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche is the person behind the animal’s removal from its home.

“I didn’t have anything to do with that cat,” said Roche. He said the police department had been receiving numerous false alarm calls.

“This conveniently happened while I was on vacation.” Steele said she believes Roche called their ADT company and discussed alarm calls. She said last fall there was one week when they had an alarm call almost every night, “but the system is so sensitive that anything will set it off,” said Steele. “We’ve had five calls in nine months, which is pretty reasonable.”

Steele says the security system, which includes a laser beam around the property, is extremely sensitive and can be set off by things like the heat coming on, the sign blowing off whenever they change it, or a drastic change in temperature.

“I believe we are the only business in town that uses PE beams. They are very sensitive to weather and I don’t think the town is too used to using them,” said Steele. “They can be set off if a spider crawls across the lens.” Steele says the beams are waist-high, so they are not low enough, in her opinion, for a cat to set off.

“Management told us that temperature and weather were the cause of the alarms,” said Roche. He said he checked with the alarm company, who said they had received no calls since last winter, so they didn’t think weather was the problem. Roche said he mentioned to the alarm company that they had a pet, which he says the alarm company said was probably what was setting off the alarm.

“I don’t know how it could be said that the cat could be setting off the alarm, because he’s not,” said Steele. “He’s our mascot. A lot of our customers, especially the elderly, come in just to see him.” Steele says they are not the only business around that has a cat, and she is not sure why her cat is being targeted when anything, or any animal, could be setting off the alarm.

Steele said she guesses the whole ordeal is because of the laser beams which trigger the alarm. She said she has it documented that the ADT company had to come out and scrape ice off the lenses this January when it snowed. “There’s raccoons and everything else out here,” said Steele, explaining that any animal could be the culprit.

The cat is now living in her garage and “very unhappy because he is used to having 2000 square feet.” Steele says she’s afraid to let him out because she knows he will run off. “I don’t know how it is that he’s being blamed, but we do want him to come back.” Steele says she’s sure the ordeal has been very stressful for her cat.

Roche said it would be one thing if the cat had been put into a room or a crate on the loading dock overnight, and not just freely roaming around. He said he never even knew about the cat until he got the false alarm calls.

Steele said Roche never called her and she felt that if he had a problem, she would have liked for him to come to her first. She assumed she would have heard from the police directly if anything had been wrong.

Steele said the customers definitely didn’t mind Ertl being in the store and she said she has even heard there is a petition circulating. “Everybody misses him,” said Steele.



24 Responses to Ertl the cat removed from Tractor Supply Co.

  1. Tammy Lytton

    September 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Bring Ertl back.. We so loved petting him and he was a true enjoyment to Tractor Supply.. Can u bring him back but lock him up in the office or somewhere overnight…Hope to see him back soon at Tractor Supply..

  2. Mel Andrews

    September 6, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Strange story— Did Tractor Supply Hire ADT for Security? If so They can Unhire them as Well, Waiting for more on this story.

  3. customer of tractor supply

    September 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    How petty can they be? With as many issues with drugs and other problems in town they need to worry about a cat ? Come on, so many other things should be worried about. They just mad bc they have to actually respond to the call…some people, so selfish. Also pretty dirty to wait until the owner of the cat was on vacay….

  4. Darrell Chrisley

    September 6, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Speaking as a person that is highly allergic to cats, I’m happy to see that the cat is gone. A place of business is no place for pets.

    • Former Tractor Supply Customer

      September 7, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      I agree with Mr. Chrisley. I like cats as much as anybody else but there should be limits to how much they are exposed to unsuspecting customers. As Mr. Chrisley stated, there are people who are highly allergic to them. When I used to shop at Tractor Supply, I remember on one occasion I had to physically move the cat off my checkbook so I could write a check. Ms. Steele, who was waiting on me, made no apologies nor any attempt to control her cat; she just watched while I maneuvered it and my checkbook myself. On another occasion, before I knew there was a resident cat, I started down an aisle and almost tripped over it since it was stretched out on the floor. I think having a cat in a business like Tractor Supply could be a danger to the public, no matter how much the kids like seeing it there.

  5. Wanda Ridpath

    September 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    I like Ertl.. I would come in and buy him a can of food sometimes.. ( well most of the time )!!
    He sure will be missed…
    GOD Bless you Ertl… Hope they can bring you back.

  6. Real World

    September 6, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Wow, what an embarrassment for Tractor Supply and the Town of Pulaski. Isn’t Mrs. Steele a member of Pulaski Town Council? The Town has an ordinance that was established by the Town Council concerning “false alarms”. Mrs. Steele (Council member and Tractor Supply Manager)is just upset because the business that she manages has the most false alarms in the Town of Pulaski. It is apparent this issue with the cat came to light after the store SHE manages has to pay a fee for having so many “false alarms”. Mrs. Steele has to answer to her bosses on why this is occurring. The cat was known to be in the store after the alarm issue was looked into. Wind, raccoons, signs, or just MAYBE the CAT inside the store walking, jumping, and enjoying the 2000 square ft of playground. How can she state that another animal could set the alarm off but, she doesn’t know how the cat could set it off?????? I guess it is ok for other businesses to have to abide by the ordinance, but since you, Mrs. Steele, are a COUNCIL MEMBER, you shouldn’t have to pay the fees? Don’t blame the police department or Chief Roche for how you manage your store or if you want a cat in the house. I don’t think the police department is against your mascot. In your own words, other businesses have cats and apparently there is not a problem. Keep the cat and PAY your fees, stop blaming others, and above all,stop using the Council position for your personal vendettas. If other businesses have paid the fees, then what makes you or your business any better. The above article should not be news worthy. Just calling it like I see it!

    • CC

      September 9, 2013 at 9:01 am

      You are being logical. The people who want the cat are being emotional and refuse to see logic. Why not take the cat to work in the mornings and take him home at night? Perhaps a solution is not as important to Ms Steele as airing her anger in public is.

      • John

        September 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm

        CC, I like your idea. Many people including myself love that cat, even if he gets in the way of writing a check. Take the cat home at night and bring him back in the morning. All parties should be satisfied with that.

  7. missing the cat

    September 7, 2013 at 2:22 am

    My kids love the cat. They miss him so much. Let him come back tractor supply is his home and he belongs there. I bet the police wouldn’t like it if someone made them get rid of their pet.

    • Anonymous

      September 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      What pet exactly?

  8. misty eastridge

    September 7, 2013 at 9:32 am

    That cat was great never bothered anyone. So loving

  9. Diana

    September 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Some one allergic to cats probably shouldn’t b in such a establishment probably should not be around hay and feed if u dnt like it don’t go there it’s amazing all the animal cruelty going on the law wants to get up set over a cat go find the animal abusers and leave the people who try to help animals along there is a Dr. In c burg who brings his dogs to work and I wldnt want it any other way makes u feel more at ease when u no the Dr is a animal lover thumbs up to Pulaski tractor supply

    • CC

      September 9, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      You missed the entire point. The cat is causing the alarm to be triggered. Resulting in the police having to respond to false alarms. I, for one, would rather have the police available to help me should I need it. No one has a vendetta against the cat.

  10. Va Girl

    September 9, 2013 at 8:05 am

    There was a cat at Tractor Supply? Never saw it.

    Guess putting it into a crate at night would solve all the problems….really.

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