WHEN cats starting getting mowed down by cars on the road outside her East Lothian home, Carla Cross’s heart went out to their owners.
The animal lover from Tranent could scarcely bear the thought of families not knowing what happened to their beloved pets.
So she patrols Elphinstone Road with a scanner to read name and addresses in microchips embedded under the animals’ skins to identify and inform owners.
“For some people, that’s their family,” said Carla. “If they’re an elderly person, that could be all they have.
“It’s a very dangerous road,” she added. “I understand that people will say cats just run out on the road and there’s just no stopping.
“But at the same time, in the evenings, you can hear cars driving quite fast up and down the road.
“How do you stop it, I don’t know – does it take a child to get hit?”
Carla was spurred into action after seeing three cats killed on Elphinstone Road in just one grim week late last year – including a neighbour’s pet.
“We’ve had a lot of cats going missing in Tranent,” she said. “One was dragged up Elphinstone Road and the injuries were so horrific we had to use a shovel.
“We took it to the vet and she said she’d never seen such horrific injuries in all her time as a veterinary nurse.”
Carla spends holiday from her job as an East Lothian Council administrator rescuing stray dogs out in Romania with the Barking Mad Dog Rescue charity.
She bought a £50 scanner to help identify pets and fears more and more will get hit as traffic on the major commuter route increases.
“There are 700 houses being built up Elphinstone Road so the congestion will get worse,” she said. “It’s already horrendous at certain times of the day, when people are trying to get home.”
Happily, Carla’s quest can have an altogether happier outcome – by reuniting lost pets with their grateful owners.
“I’ve found a cat and dog. It was really nice to get them back home – their owners were chuffed,” she said.
Tranent councillor Gordon Mackett is now leading efforts to slow traffic in the town – and avoid future pet deaths.
“It’s something we’re speaking to the council and looking at what measures we can take to calm speeding on all roads into Tranent,” said Cllr Mackett.
“It seems to be an issue in wider Tranent with drivers putting their foot down – we’re trying to figure out how to calm it down without causing massive disruption,” he added.
An 11-year-old girl was left with serious injuries after being hit by a BMW in Haddington Road last week – further sparking safety fears. Cllr Mackett ruled out speed bumps but suggested narrowing the four major routes in and out of the town could be an option.
“It’s very difficult because we want no massive impact on commuters. We know budgets are tight but there is money there.”