Thursday, December 15, 2005

Keep An Eye On Your Cats, New Yorkers.

This is a rather disturbing/depressing story. This Manhattan woman's cat, Oliver, escaped, was turned over to a shelter, and promptly adopted by someone else, who refuses to give him back. And according to a rather vague 1894 statute, "a pet owner's right to reclaim a lost pet is terminated if the animal is not claimed within 48 hours of being seized by an authorized city agency." So now she has to battle it out in court to get her beloved kitty back. I can't even imagine how much that would suck.

My thoughts:

o Oliver's new owner is a jerk. Yes, she has a legal claim to keep the cat, but for all intents and purposes she has stolen or kidnapped him, and her argument is basically, "Hey, you shouldn't have let him escape - once he gets out, he's fair game." But even if the new owner has indeed bonded with him, Oliver's previous owner should have a stronger claim, unless she was abusive or negligent. Also, consider how cats (and pets in general) are like family for a lot of people. Imagine if your child wandered off one day, the stranger who found him decided to keep him or her, and then argued that you lost the kid because you're a lousy parent.

UPDATE: The NY Daily News covered this story as well, and notes that the first owner had Oliver for four years, while the new owner had him for ONE WEEK before deciding to keep him. I'm going to amend my intial assessment from "jerk" to "completely fucking selfish and evil."

o Didn't Oliver have a nametag with his owner's contact information? If so, why didn't the shelter or the person who found him attempt to contact his owner? If he didn't (it doesn't look like he has one in the photo accompanying the article), why the hell not??? I wouldn't go so far as to say she deserves to lose her cat because she didn't give him a nametag, but she was certainly tempting fate. If I'm the new owner or her lawyer, I would make that front and center in any claims of negligence (the new owner is claiming negligence, but she appears to be using the escape itself as her evidentiary trump card).

o If you have cats or dogs, give them nametags. Hell, give them those tracer chip implants if you can. And if it doesn't exist already, there should be some kind of central lost-pet registry where all the shelters log brief descriptions of any animals they receive, as well as when and where they were found. So if you lose your pet, you can just check the registry rather than going from shelter to shelter. Somehow, I suspect that this will never happen...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This adds to the distress I've been feeling for the polar bears. I do feel for the original owner and can understand why the cat doesn't have a tag--if the cat was anything like mine, who would constantly tug and scratch to try to get the collar off. (Yes, I didn't start her young enough.)

Having recently lost my cats to cancer I feel the owner's pain--and the adopter is a lousy human being.

Chip is a good idea.

Now, the poor polar bears. Who we humans, mostly us Western industrialized sub-group are driving to their deaths and possible extinction. Within 50 years.

I'd read about the problems with their hunting--this is new, that so many are drowning.

Oh, our canaries, good people, are those white, lumbering Arctic polar bears.

jawbone

Silleigh said...

To be honest, I never thought about name-tagging my cats. But they never ever go outside. I guess one slip out the door is all it takes, though.

(They have bells around their necks though: Feline Early-Warning System.)

Anyway, I weigh in on the side of "she doesn't deserve to lose her cat over it."

oldwhitelady said...

Cats and collars really don't go well together. Sure, indoor cats could wear them and not have too much harm, I think, but they go in so many different places and the collars can get caught on just about anything.
I feel for the owner. The new owner only had the cat for a week. If she/he had to pay anything, the old owner can give her the money she paid out to adopt the cat. Good grief! There are lots of cats out there looking for a good home. 1 week is NOT long enough to get bonded for life with the cat, 4 years, is!
My sweet little Lady Fortuna was a lost cat. She was at a house for a couple days, and no one claimed her so she was taken to the pound. She was fostered for a month. No one asked for her. If anyone wanted to claim her, I would probably not let them have her, because she acts like she had been mistreated (but that could have been due to being lost) unless her previous owner and she had a bond like Saddie and I had. She is in poor shape, too. The foster only had her for a month and that really wasn't enough time for her to put on much weight. I've had her a couple weeks and we've started to bond.