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PHOTOS: Kitten Rescued From L.A. River

"The kitten was safely rescued and is dry and warm at the East Valley Animal Shelter."
"The kitten was safely rescued and is dry and warm at the East Valley Animal Shelter."

Cigarette butts and fake fingernails weren't the only human run-off that last Friday's rain tried to sweep out to sea.

The Small Animal Rescue Team Los Angeles (SmART) responded late Friday night to a frantic 911 call from Sarah Strazi, a resident near the L.A. River and L.A. Valley College. She had spotted a small mewing kitten stuck in a drainpipe just above water level --

Which was quickly rising, not unlike a climactic scene from a Disney movie about adorable animals in trouble.

Armando Navarrete, one of the rescuers, told NBC LA that "the pipes have debris and the kitten could only go a little ways into the pipe. There's no way out. With the rain coming tomorrow all that was needed was six inches of water to drown the kitten."

Check out the size of those near-death pupils:

A dramatic evening, indeed. And lucky for all us not-so-Good Samaritans who instead opted for the average Friday-night grind -- drowning ourselves at some cold, bleak bar somewhere, wanting kittens -- a series of heart-stopping rescue photos have been posted to the SmART Facebook page.

They're positively precious! Enough to make us camp out by the L.A. River so, next time the rains come, we get to be the heroes who call up the rescue squad -- then watch the 24-hour crew rapel down a mossy embankment, woo the kitten into a cage and rapel their little victim out of there as well. "Once we get the animal out, which is probably the toughest of the whole thing, now we have to get ... everybody else out of the river," Navarrete told NBC LA.

Cool. Strazi confirms: "It was really, really cool. We had to keep our hopes up but we were really excited."

Anyway. Pics or it didn't happen.

PHOTOS: Kitten Rescued From L.A. River
Donna Lewis via Facebook

Pretty elaborate, right? Guess we have one reckless orange kitten (sort of more of a tween, actually -- a tween named AJ) to blame for our fat lack of city funds. And all those other squirrels and strays that require similar saves every time it rains, according to Navarrete.

So cute though! For more taxpayer-funded soul pics: "L.A. Firefighter Puts Oxygen Mask on Kitten."

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