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Roommates stole my friends' cats

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I don't know what forum is most appropriate to post this question so I will put it here.

My friend's roomates have stolen her two cats. The roommates moved out and took the cats. They then went behind her back and changed the cats' legal ownership. She is very upset about this of course. Is there anything she can do to get the cats back? They are most definitely her cats; she is the one who loves them and she takes good care of them. They must miss her a lot. Help please! Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks.
post #2 of 23
I'm just curious to know what you mean by changed their ownership? Do you mean they were registered with the city? I have no idea if she can do anything, but how terrible for her. She & her babies will be in my throughts & prayers.
post #3 of 23
How can legal ownership be changed?

Does your roomie have the adoption paperwork and copies of past vet bills? I would think that's all the proof needed!
post #4 of 23
We had a case something like this in my neighborhood this summer.
Jade had two cats a male and a female, the female got out and the lady next door took her.
When Jade went to the door to get her back the Lady said it was a different cat...as if Jade wouldn't know her own cat

Luckly Jade takes her cats to the same Vet I do and he gives you a book with the cats health history in it, plus they take a picture of the cat at the Vets office and it's in there too...the pictures are updated at each checkup.

Jade took all this info to her and she still wouldn't give the cat back.
Jade called the police and they told her to ask the Vet to go with her and take the documention with them and to tell her if she didn't return the cat the police would be down to take it from her.

Jade got her cat back.

So, as long as she has a regular Vet I would hope that he would be able to go with her to vouch that these are indeed her cats and that she can get them back.

With all the homeless kitties in the world, why would someone take a cat that does not belong to them??
post #5 of 23
aww poor kitty. that sucks people are mean like that. I admit, I have taken cats from people when I know they aren't being cared for. If an intact cat shows up on my patio or at my door or crosses my path and it is too skinny, injured, looks like something is wrong, appears very hungry, I am taking the cat. Sorry that is just how it goes. But a well cared for kitty, I will be calling and posting fliers etc... I am sure your friends cat is perfectly fine and I hope she gets it back.

Good luck.
post #6 of 23
Well I don't feel so bad admitting this now.
But that's how we got Maggie.
She was just a baby and the people down the street kept throwing her outside...in the dead of winter no less

I would take her back and say "Here I think your kitten got out"...then about the fifth time the lady said to me..."She's making to much noise in the house, my Husband can't sleep so just sit her down on the porch next time."

Well there wasn't a next time, when she came to my door again less than two hours later I brought her in...end of story.
They never came looking for her and if they had I'd have told them I never saw her.

The good thing is, she lived to be almost 19 years old and never went outside again...and she was only sick once in all those 19 years.
If I would have left her where she was, she would have been dead in less than a year..I'm sure of it.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Graciecat View Post
Well I don't feel so bad admitting this now.
But that's how we got Maggie.
She was just a baby and the people down the street kept throwing her outside...in the dead of winter no less

I would take her back and say "Here I think your kitten got out"...then about the fifth time the lady said to me..."She's making to much noise in the house, my Husband can't sleep so just sit her down on the porch next time."

Well there wasn't a next time, when she came to my door again less than two hours later I brought her in...end of story.
They never came looking for her and if they had I'd have told them I never saw her.

The good thing is, she lived to be almost 19 years old and never went outside again...and she was only sick once in all those 19 years.
If I would have left her where she was, she would have been dead in less than a year..I'm sure of it.
Good for you! I'd have done exactly the same thing - some people just should never have animals!
post #8 of 23
it's my cats that are in dispute. thanks for all your replies, suggestions and so on.

Quote:
How can legal ownership be changed? Does your roomie have the adoption paperwork and copies of past vet bills? I would think that's all the proof needed!
yes - while they were living in my premises, i stupidly told them where the file on the cats was in case i was out or something and they needed to go to the vet. more fool me.

Quote:
I admit, I have taken cats from people when I know they aren't being cared for.
in their letter, which they left several hours after they'd taken the cats and i'd run around frantically wondering where the cats were, they claimed that i couldn't look after the cats properly. i have a mental health disorder, but i have a psychiatrist and therapist willing to state that i'm stable, and have been, for ages, not to mention the fact that the vet always comments on how well the cats are, and is happy to vouch for the fact that i am the owner and that they've always been in great health.

also, they never once came to me in the whole time they lived here to say "we think you can't look after the cats" - nor did they contact any of the various cats protection agencies we have in the UK (battersea dogs home, where we bought them, would investigate such allegations, so would the RSPCA and the cats protection league, and of course any vet) so i really don't think the cats welfare is genuinely their issue. if it was they know the official channels to go through, so do i - and i would've co operated with a genuine investigation.

however, they came into my house when they knew i'd be out, took the cats, then left this letter making these allegations several hours later. which doesn't suggest that the cats' welfare was foremost, if that makes sense?

it's a horrible situation.
post #9 of 23
Oh honey, I am so sorry. All I can offer is some hugs and two shoulders and two ears.....if you need them all of them are yours.



Hugs and kittykisses from KittenKiya's Clan.
post #10 of 23
No clue how the laws may differ where you live, but I would think the note would be enough to bring to the police to prove they took your cats. I hope everything works out for you.
post #11 of 23
Hello and welcome to Tcs I'm glad you found us.

Mental health issues are no excuse for theft .They have took it upon themselves to
steal your cats.
Your in the Uk?The RSPCA won't want to know,Cats Protection can't help.Battersea they just re-home.
When you say they changed 'ownership' do you mean they have changed the microchip details?Or have they registered them at another vet?There is no licence for cats or dogs in the Uk.
If they have changed the microchip details that is NOT proof of ownership.
How long ago did this happen?

You must report the theft of your poor babies asap to the police,They have taken advantage of you because of your disability.They have no right to do that.
They had no right to enter your property after they left,They had no legal right to access so they were tresspassing.

Do you have any photo's of your cats with you?,do you have any fur anywhere from their beds?.....If the police won't act,then you may have to take civil action and have dna done on the fur you have from them.

Take that letter to the police too,that is proof they have admitted they have taken your cats,The police must act.

If you need any help or advice,Please PM me or e-mail me,my e-mail is in my profile.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yorda View Post
No clue how the laws may differ where you live, but I would think the note would be enough to bring to the police to prove they took your cats. I hope everything works out for you.
I was going to say this. The letter in and of itself is proof that they took your cats, and that they knew they were your cats. I would contact the authorities.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by furryferals View Post
Hello and welcome to Tcs I'm glad you found us.
thanks

Quote:
Battersea they just re-home.
but it's also the place where i bought the cats, and they have a lost and found section, who i spoke to last week so they are aware the cats are stolen, should they ever come into contact with them. i think they may be able to advice on how to handle this. maybe they won't but it's worth trying i think.

Quote:
When you say they changed 'ownership' do you mean they have changed the microchip details?Or have they registered them at another vet?There is no licence for cats or dogs in the Uk. If they have changed the microchip details that is NOT proof of ownership.
How long ago did this happen?
i'm not entirely sure. i spoke to the mchip people last thurs morning (the morning after the cats were taken) and they said i was the owner but someone by the name of one of the tenants had rung on 10th jan to say they were in africa but would change ownership when they returned.

i knew when the cats went that they'd stolen the papers that go with them, but this means that they took the papers (or copies) to africa - where they went in mid december. so this was clearly planned for a while.

i spoke to the mchip people again who said they couldn't give me any info as i wasn't the registered owner. i asked why they'd changed the details. they said that since all they deal with is reunification, they have to go by what they're told. she said they don't actually change the ownership, just get asked to update their records when whoever does change ownership does so. she said she received all the correct forms/certificates and therefore had to change it.

i've no idea about them going to a vet - my vet say there's been no contact from them at all. nor has another vet asked for their records. however, i don't know *who* they have changed ownership with.

on sunday they returned some stuff to me: basically the cats papers that were no longer useful to them. the receipts from battersea (which have my name as owner, and my signature), the insurance papers and vet records. but not the crucial microchip stuff.

the problem now is that they are the registered owners and if i go about this the wrong way, they can claim that I am the thief.

Quote:
They had no right to enter your property after they left,They had no legal right to access so they were tresspassing.
sadly not. these people, i thought, were my friends. they'd lived at my house for over a year, and i thought they were trustworthy: they'd always paid rent on time etc.

when they moved out i asked for the keys and they said they'd left them at the new place by mistake. they also said something like "and anyway, i'm sure we've forgotten something". when you think someone's a friend and you can trust them, you believe this statement and understand it to mean material items, clothes, toiletries etc. and that was what i did. i said they could have the keys for a day or two and come to get their stuff.

they came the morning after they left and i only realised when i went downstairs to make breakfast: but they never said they were coming. i emailed and said could they just let me know when they were coming in future because otherwise i'd be freaked out when things moved about. they even emailed to say they'd be over about 5pm on weds. i knew (and they knew) that i'd be out then, but i didn't think much of it: they'd been in my house without my presence on many occasions during their tenancy. the police said that my invitation nulls any trespass, and my saying they could get "their stuff" could be argued by them to have meant the cats, so that nulls any theft.

i think they probably knew this and have been clever. every time i've asked for information and/or the cats i've set a deadline or i'll go to the police. however, every time, their email with intentions has come in very very close to the deadline. i suspect they knew that the way they did this would stop the police getting involved, and knew my threats to talk to the police were pointless, and just dragged things out in terms of making me wait on them, knowing that they had the upper hand.

Quote:
Do you have any photo's of your cats with you?,do you have any fur anywhere from their beds?.....If the police won't act,then you may have to take civil action and have dna done on the fur you have from them.
yeah, i have pics on my phone. the problem is now they've changed ownership proving i had the cats isn't the issue: it's proving that i can look after them and proving that they changed the details frauduiently.

Quote:
Take that letter to the police too,that is proof they have admitted they have taken your cats,The police must act.
i thought that would be the case too but they said that because the letter made claims about my ability to look after the cats, that automatically made it a civil issue, rather than a criminal one, because insted of just taking the cats and saying nothing or gloating, they have said they have done this for the welfare of the cats and the police can't then get involved because whether or not i can care for them is not for the police to decide, it's a lawyer type issue.

still, at lesat i've finally managed to get some sleep.
post #14 of 23
NO NO NO!

The microchip registration is NOTHING to do with ownership of the cats, legal or otherwise. If they are telling you that, they are lying to you. All the microchip registration details is a name and number to call if the cat turns up at a shelter. The name they have on their records is not like a register of which cat legally belongs to which person.

Go to the police and report a theft. Please!

ETA: Also it is still illegal to take someone else's property, even an animal, even if it is thought to be a welfare issue. In order to seize an animal in a neglect situation, even the RSPCA have to have a police warrant and be accompanied by an officer of the law. It is illegal for any individual to remove an animal from its rightful owners, no matter what they think the welfare situation is, it is THEFT! The only way to legally remove an animal from its owners is to report neglect to the RSPCA who will investigate and then get the police involved to legally remove them from a neglect situation. They have broken the law, don't let them lie to you.
post #15 of 23
Sweetie I'm so sorry. I also think you should make a police report, it can't hurt.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
The microchip registration is NOTHING to do with ownership of the cats, legal or otherwise. If they are telling you that, they are lying to you. All the microchip registration details is a name and number to call if the cat turns up at a shelter. The name they have on their records is not like a register of which cat legally belongs to which person.
yeah, they told me that, but they said they'd had the appropriate certificates of ownership change from the proper authorities and therefore had updated the details. they couldn't/wouldn't tell me who does deal with/change the legal details.

this afternoon i rang the chip people and they said that to change a cat's ownership, all that was needed was for the previous owner's docs to be sent in with a fee for changing them.

but today i FINALLY had some GOOD news!!!!!!

i went to battersea today, who weren't particularly helpful but did let me fill in a lost/stolen cat report.

i then went back to the police and saw a different constable. he looked at all the papers i had, and wasn't sure quite what direction to take it, but rang his superiors who advised that:

it's definitely a fraud case (just the bit about changing ownership but hopefully the rest will follow on from that).

CID are taking it on: because fraud is a serious enough offence to have a max penalty of LIFE in prison. ANY kind of fraud. obviously it's highly unlikely they'll get that, but it's kind of nice to know about.

he told me that he'd log all the details tonight, and CID would review the case probably tomorrow and be in touch. he said that assuming they follow normal procedure, all three of the ex tenants would be arrested, held in custody for a little while, then interviewed and bailed.

that should have more effect than i've had so far.
post #17 of 23
I'm so glad that you've had some good news.
Hopefully if they have to sit their butts in jail it might get through their thick heads that taking your cats just because you have a mental disorder is not the right thing to do.

Frankly it sounds to me like they are just down right nasty people and they'd have done or said anything to get the cats...if it hadn't been the mental disorder they would have thought of something else.

People like them just make me want to scream
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Graciecat View Post
taking your cats just because you have a mental disorder is not the right thing to do.
i actually think that part wasn't the real reason behind their actions. i think they realised that making such a claim would mean it would be hard for me to involve the police, and i think it was an excuse. i think they really took them because they were annoyed that i asked them to move out.
post #19 of 23
Thank goodness they are looking into it. The main thing is of course that I hope you get your cats back!

I think the mental health issue is a bit of a smokescreen to be honest, it sounds as if these people were out to hurt you rather than through any concern about your ability to care for the cats - while of course some conditions can make it difficult to care for yourself or a pet, for most people having a pet is a real comfort, helps deal with stress, and it can really help to have an affectionate creature depending on you.

Oh and have you had your locks changed? I would get that done right away if I were you!
post #20 of 23
Just curious, what microchip company are you using?

I received Puppy (my cat) from some people who no longer wanted him. To change the microship registration, I had to write a letter to the company. They then notified the registered owners and gave them 4 weeks to respond. When Puppy's owners didn't respond, only then did they transfer his registration to me. This is what your microchip comany should have done. We're using HomeAgain.

The police should certainly be able to help. Yes, you did give them an invitation to come and pick up "their stuff", but that does not mean they can take "your stuff" in the process. You just need to show that you were the one who took care of the cats. The adoption records and vet records should be enough, and Battersea and the vet will of course have their own records for this stuff.

Good luck on getting back your kitties! Do you know where they are at all?
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bab-ush-niik View Post
Just curious, what microchip company are you using?

I had to write a letter to the company. They then notified the registered owners and gave them 4 weeks to respond.
it was one called petlog. i spoke to them and they said that all that was needed was for the new owner to send the previous owner's documents to them. i assume they don't think that the docs might be stolen.....

Quote:
I think the mental health issue is a bit of a smokescreen to be honest, it sounds as if these people were out to hurt you rather than through any concern about your ability to care for the cats

Oh and have you had your locks changed? I would get that done right away if I were you!
i have changed the locks, yes. and i agree about the smokescreen. if that really was the concern, there are lots of official channels to go through to make sure the cats are ok: talking to me as the owner, talking to the vet, to the battersea dogs home, to the RSPCA etc etc. i think they wrote the letter about the mental health as an afterhtought.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogtanian View Post
i have changed the locks, yes. and i agree about the smokescreen. if that really was the concern, there are lots of official channels to go through to make sure the cats are ok: talking to me as the owner, talking to the vet, to the battersea dogs home, to the RSPCA etc etc. i think they wrote the letter about the mental health as an afterhtought.
Glad to hear the locks have been changed.

The thing is that even if someone reported you to the RSPCA they would come out to do a home visit, and unless there were signs of abuse or severe neglect (starving in other words!) the cats would not be taken away from you. Even if the litterbox was overflowing they would give you advice about how often to clean it and what litter to use, and would do a follow-up visit or two to check that was happening ok. They wouldn't remove your cats if they have good basic care, and unless there is abuse or starvation they give you plenty of chance to put it right. And that's even if they find a problem, I am sure they would just come round to you and wonder what all the fuss was about

Have the police done anything yet? You may have to pester them, it may not register very high on their list of priorities unless you make a fuss.
post #23 of 23
i've not heard from the cops yet - i thought i'd give them a week, which is til tomorrow, and then ring.

i agree about the RSPCA - they claimed to have had advice from battersea but i spoke to battersea and they said they'd never advise just taking cats.
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