Hugo holds on as owners hope

Cat has been atop power pole for two days

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By Bob Uphues


UPDATED: Wednesday, July 23 at 1:35 p.m.

After a tense couple of days over on Millbridge Road, Hugo is back in the arms of his owner, Pete Sabbag.

A ComEd employee handed the white and black cat back to Sabbag at about 12:30 p.m., about an hour after several ComEd trucks and employees arrived on scene to rescue the cat, which had been atop a power pole since Monday night.

It took a while for the cherrypicker to begin ascending toward the cat. Power was shut off to a section of southern Riverside and the Riverside Police Department's animal control officer was summoned to the scene before the roughly five-minute rescue operation, which involved a ComEd employee simply plucking the cat from its perch.


Hugo, a white and black cat in Riverside, spends his days outside but comes in every night to his home on Millbridge Road. But for the past two nights, Hugo has spent the night on top of a ComEd pole in the backyard of his house — and his owners are frantic to get him down from there.

On Monday night, Kim Frank and Pete Sabbag called for him to come in, but he was a no show.

"Then we heard him up there," said Frank.

Hugo has been meowing pretty much constantly since then. Riverside police and fire can't risk going up there, since the pole is strung with high-power wires, and it's just too dangerous.

ComEd is Hugo's only hope.

A ComEd crew came out on Tuesday and tried to lure Hugo into a basket and, when that failed, pushing it into the basket with poles. That just succeeded in chasing Hugo farther up the pole to the very top.

The crew eventually left, saying another shift would be back that afternoon with a cherrypicker. They never showed up. Frank has been on the phone trying to reach someone at ComEd every hour on the hour since.

Hugo spent Tuesday night on top of the pole weathering a thunderstorm. You can still see him up on top of the pole if you go down to the end of Barrypoint Road and look west, near the garage of the house on the corner.

By 9 a.m. Wednesday, Frank and Sabbag still hadn't heard anything from ComEd. That's when Sabbag found an email to ComEd's CEO and sent him a note. To his surprise, the CEO had someone respond to the email.

"It said someone would be back in touch shortly," Sabbag said.

So there's hope for Hugo. Stay tuned.

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