In the United States, the owner of a cat obtained in court at the beginning of May 2022 an amicable settlement of 125,000 dollars (about 118,000 €) after Miska, her cat, had been accused of having committed dozens of offenses and nuisances in the neighborhood over several years.
Having a cat can sometimes create small neighborhood problems, but also bring in a nice check. This is what happened to Anna Danieli, whose story is notably reported by National Public Radio (NPR), the American public radio. At the beginning of May 2022, this resident of Bellevue, a city in the suburbs of Seattle, in the State of Washington, obtained a legal settlement of 125,000 dollars, or 118,000 euros, after her cat had been accused of committing several offenses in his neighborhood.
“Terror in the Neighborhood”
The story begins in 2014 and spans three years, during which Anna Danieli regularly receives fines from the City of Bellevue and King County. The reason ? Miska, his tabby cat, is said to be the source of more than 30 offences: he has been accused of breaking into neighbours’ homes, killing domestic animals – chickens, ducks, rabbits – and having sown according to the local media, the “terror in the neighborhood”where the animal roamed freely, which has been prohibited in Bellevue since 2010.
Faced with these breaches, the municipality and the county imposed on the mistress of the cat a total of 30,000 dollars in fines (28,000 €) over time. Exasperated, Anna Danieli ended up taking the case to court in 2019. After several years of litigation, the parties concluded this month a financial agreement of 125,000 dollars in favor of Anna Danieli, and the charges against they were abandoned.
” Abuse of power “
How can such a turnaround be explained? Not everything has been revealed in the American press, but some information has leaked out. The plaintiff’s lawyers would have insisted in particular on the fact that one of the neighbors who complained on numerous occasions against the cat Miska and his mistress was also … the director of regional animal services for King County. Earlier in 2019, attorneys also established that this same neighbor signed forms to have the Miska cat impounded, kicked out of the county, and even euthanized.
Eventually, as local TV channel Fox 13 reports, the city of Bellevue’s animal code, deemed obsolete, was changed, and the lawyers won their client’s case, arguing a “serious conflict of interest” and one ” abuse of power “ from a county official.
This dispute over a cat has indeed embarrassed the local administration, revealing a problem that goes well beyond the neighborhood dispute or a simple story of nuisance. “This case has shown that some officials are capable of using their influence and position to take unfair and unreasonable actions against neighbors and others in their personal lives,” in particular underlined the lawyer Jon Zimmerman, quoted by Fox13.