Canton of Zurich: She challenges a salt plum for having fed another’s cat

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A woman is tried on appeal for having fed and sheltered an animal that did not belong to her.

The animal has been replaced, for its well-being, says its former owner (illustration image).

Reuters

A gesture that might seem trivial could have significant repercussions for a Zurich woman. This resident of Eglisau is accused of having let a neighbour’s tabby cat into her home on several occasions and for nearly five months. She would have fed him, against the will of the owner. “By acting in this way, she literally locked the cat in, because it could only come out if the accused opened the door for it”, can we read, among other things, in the penal order. She would have wanted to establish a relationship with the cat in order to appropriate it.

Reason for which the German-speaking was condemned via criminal order for illegitimate appropriation to a fine of 700 francs. To this are added procedural costs of 550 francs. The defendant filed an objection, which is why she will appear before the Bülach District Court on Wednesday.

“Legal cases are rare”

According to the former owner of Mici, the cat has meanwhile been replaced. “The shelter from which I had recovered Mici in 2017 placed her in a new environment after the incidents, for animal welfare reasons.” The latter says she feels incredibly sad that Mici is no longer with her. Even today, she does not understand the motives of the neighbor.

According to Sibel Konyo, a lawyer specializing in animal protection law, it is quite common for neighbors to feed other people’s cats. “But court cases are rather rare,” she says. In principle, it is not forbidden to feed the animals, but the fact of systematically feeding other people’s cats can constitute an infringement of the property right of the owner of the animal. “If someone has a clear objective to take a cat away from its owner, it is possible to take legal action,” continues the expert.

This case is very similar to that of a St. Gallen pensioner, first convicted by penal order for having fed a neighbor’s cat then acquitted on appeal last February. “All that is prohibited is not necessarily punishable”, had then argued the judge. And to add: “We cannot blame him for having wanted to appropriate the cat.” He had finally advised her: “In the future, check that cats have a chip and keep some distance.”

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