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Did I rescue, adopt -- or steal? Copied from another thread

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Last Saturday I was doing some volunteer work at my alma mater, a Christian high school about 50 miles and another state away from my home. A cat -- tiny, pitifully thin -- wandered through the room I was in, and I immediately fell in love with her. The school project coordinator told me she'd been hanging around for several days, scrounging for food.

I swept her up in my arms, took her to the vet, had her tested to make sure she didn't have Feline Leukemia or FIV, got her shots and medicine for earmites and had her dewormed, and took her home to my two other cats. She weighed 6.8 pounds and was pregnant, even though she's not any older than 6-9 months.

When I left the vet, my cell phone rang. It was the project coordinator at the school. The woman who lives next door claims the cat is hers and wants her back. I refused, point-blank, because of the cat's condition. I called the woman (the school gave me the number) and her caller ID captured my cell phone number. I told her flatly, unless she had vet bills or other papers to prove she owned the cat, I was keeping her because she was obviously neglected. This woman had the nerve to tell me she'd "rescued" the cat herself, and that this was actually the cat's SECOND pregnancy (at not even nine months old!), though she had lost all the kittens before. Well, duh! She's so skinny it's a wonder she didn't die herself. She's going to be spayed next Friday.

The school is upset with me because they say that morally, the cat belongs to this woman, even though I'm on firm legal ground due to the fact that I never set foot on her property, the cat was running loose in violation of city ordinance and had no collar or tags to prove she had been vaccinated for rabies.

The woman called me and screamed at me for several days. I haven't heard from her since Tuesday, which could mean she's accepted reality and given up. I'm not sure.

I already know, from speaking to the city prosecutor, that criminal charges wouldn't apply in this case. He did say the woman COULD file civil charges, but he doubts that she will -- for one thing, the assertion of ownership would make her liable for the fines and penalties related to violating city ordinances. Plus, I have checked the woman out and she seems to be as white-trashy as they come -- several civil judgments against her, none of which have been satisfied, to the tune of almost $8,000 she owes, not including court costs.

Even though I know this cat is better off with me, I still harbor a small amount of guilt for essentially taking her away from this woman. Should I?
post #2 of 22
Nope--the kitty is obviously better off with you and found its way to you. It's fate! G/l with the kitty.
post #3 of 22
DO NOT feel guilty the least bit!!!!

That lady did not rescue that cat, YOU did. Let her scream all she wants, but she was neglecting that cat and does not deserve to have it back.

You keep that cat and spoil it rotten!!!

YOU GO GIRL!!! Please keep us updated!!!
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaceyDF
DO NOT feel guilty the least bit!!!!

That lady did not rescue that cat, YOU did. Let her scream all she wants, but she was neglecting that cat and does not deserve to have it back.

You keep that cat and spoil it rotten!!!

YOU GO GIRL!!! Please keep us updated!!!
post #5 of 22
Hissy, where did our posts go?? Hmmm...
Well I'll post it again....
I would have done, and HAVE done, the same thing in your place. If you think of it this way, on Animal Cops, that cat would have been confiscated and the "owner" would have had to pay fines. Rightly so! I think you did the right thing!
Well, now I see "copied from another thread" so I guess that's what happened to our posts...duh...
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Nope--the kitty is obviously better off with you and found its way to you. It's fate! G/l with the kitty.

i say, wonderful luck for that little one! i feared i had 'stolen' Java, because she was so friendly, but no one ever claimed her. my sister's indoor/outdoor cats have occasionally turned up at her local school, but they have tags & collars, are spayed & fed. this 'lady' doesn't deserve a cat if that's how she treats it.
post #7 of 22
I feel that people who have pets should take care of them. Part of that care means they are not allowed to run loose, endangering themselves and irritating people who don't like animals. Therefore, I say, you did the same thing I would have done. In fact, I got my Muffin much the same way. My husband went fishing and found him at the boat landing. He obviously was tame and had been someone's cat. The boat landing was about two or three miles from the nearest houses. So he either hitched a ride on someone's boat trailer or he was dropped off and abandoned. Anyway, he was such a sweetheart, I never tried to find out where he had come from.
post #8 of 22
Bless you for rescuing the kitty-cat! I'm a Christian, too, and at almost 49 years, almost an elder so hopefully my words work for you! Anyway, I feel that you need to deny those pangs of guilt (senseless guilt & self-doubt are 2 of the Devil's favorite tools) and realize that your motivation was not to covet someone's beautiful, expensive or otherwise charming pet but rather, your heart was moved to compassion for one of His creatures in dire need. If God cares for the least sparrow, certainly He cared for that cat. How happy Heaven must be that your heart was still & listened and you were moved to rescue the cat. I'm sorry that the project coordinator feels the way she does;sounds like she doesn't like confrontation and/or doesn't consider animals in the proper esteem. Just because you are younger than she, don't feel like you have to deny what God spoke in your heart. To me, her thoughts are similar to the Jews' in the parable of the Good Samaritan. I think that your challenge will be in forgiving the mean lady for calling you (you didn't give her permission to call & she called just to be confrontational); perhaps you can try understanding her situation - she obviously didn't love the cat, or she would have explained why she didn't care for it, and would be thanking you profusely and offering whatever she could to pay you back, even if it meant offering to do housework and yardwork. No, it sounds like she is poor in spirit, if not also in material things, so that an object (as this cat must have been to her for her to neglect it so) that had no value until someone else found it, is a great loss. She reminds me of the husband who hates his wife, and is abusive, until another man acts friendly to her! You did the right thing!! I am so happy for the cat - so many of us here pray for the rescue of cats in need - so consider this situation to be the answer to a prayer!! God Bless, Susan
post #9 of 22
Susan that was beautiful
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibiana
Even though I know this cat is better off with me, I still harbor a small amount of guilt for essentially taking her away from this woman. Should I?
NO!!!! I agree with what everyone else here had said. You are an angel to this little cat and don't forget that or doubt that. God bless you for saving her.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by menagerie mama
Hissy, where did our posts go?? Hmmm...
Well I'll post it again....
I would have done, and HAVE done, the same thing in your place. If you think of it this way, on Animal Cops, that cat would have been confiscated and the "owner" would have had to pay fines. Rightly so! I think you did the right thing!
Well, now I see "copied from another thread" so I guess that's what happened to our posts...duh...
I completely agree that this cat is better off with the new person. But it does not cancel out the fact that the person knows the cat is owned by someone else and that this person is not a sanctioned animal control officer. And the original owner wants the cat back. It's called catnapping and it is illegal in most places, unless it is done within legal channels.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
I completely agree that this cat is better off with the new person. But it does not cancel out the fact that the person knows the cat is owned by someone else and that this person is not a sanctioned animal control officer. And the original owner wants the cat back. It's called catnapping and it is illegal in most places, unless it is done within legal channels.
I think it would be extremely difficult for this owner to prove ownership, though, if she hadn't fed the cat, put a tag on her, spayed her, or given her her shots. I mean, what claim does this person have to this cat if she didn't do any of those things?
post #13 of 22
Susan pretty much summed it all up for me as well. Bless you for taking in this kitty and giving her such a loving home.
post #14 of 22
This happens more frequently than you would imagine. For the cat's sake, its a good thing that the irresponsible person did not tag or collar the kitty. As it is, in order for her to prevail, its going to cost her a lot of time, effort (and money that she doesn't have) to take you to court over the civil issue. There is NO criminal issue I can see from the information posted. In addition to the vet care, make sure you comply with any license registration requirments. Collar or microchip the kitty and take some nice photos of the cat enjoying her new responsible and caring owner. And... you may need to change your cell number...

M.
post #15 of 22
do make sure you take pictures, or video of the kitten as proof though, you did the right thing, i surely would have done the same thing. and get a vet statement if you have too, that way if things do bump up, you got the evidence. that kitty is so blessed to have you!!
post #16 of 22
Hello, I am new here and have my own cat rescue. I think what you did was exactly what was called for in the situation. Also, I commend Catsknowme for everything that she said!

Good job everyone!

Kim
post #17 of 22
Please don't feel guilty! You did the right thing for this poor kitten. she is just a baby and for her to be treated that way by her "owner" is just discusting. I am a criminal justice major and unless she has explicit proof of ownership, she has no legal leg to stand on. The information you recieved is "hearsay" and it won't stand up in a court. The cat had no tags, chip, collar or anything to let people know she was owned. Good for you to open your home to another needy kitty!
post #18 of 22
Well, most of you know how I'd handle this:

Caller: You picked up my cat and I want it back
Fester: Okay, you pay for the vet care I provided it and I'll bring it back right away.

Caller: You stole my cat and I want it back
Fester: No, I picked up a stray with no ID and provided it with the care it was lacking

Caller: I don't have to pay because YOU stole my cat
Fester:I didn't steal your cat anymore than you let it roam freely which is against the law.

Caller:If you don't bring my cat back, I'll call the police
Fester:And I'm sure they will check to see if YOU have any outstanding warrants

Caller:I'll have them arrest you for stealing my cat
Fester:I'll have them arrest [b]YOU[b] for allowing a cat to roam at-large

Caller:I'll sue you for damages in civil court
Fester:I'll be sure to call some of your creditors and ask them to meet us at the courthouse to speak with you, too.

Caller:You're an %*$#@@*
Fester:ooo, I love it when you talk that way!

I wouldnt' worry about it, this bonehead probably knows more about the legal system only because she is being sued or arrested so much herself and she wouldn't want to go anywhere NEAR a courthouse....
She also probably doesn't have the resources to file a lawsuit of any kind and what is more, she sure won't be able to find a lawyer to take the case.

If you have her phone number, I'll be happy to call her and argue FOR you,
you have to remember that arguing with a truck driver (me) is like wrestling a pig in the mud.

Sooner or later you will realize that they enjoy it !
post #19 of 22
Keep the kitty and give it a life. You have done a wonderful thing!!
That woman promotes problems with animals and people like that are just plain stupid. IF she actually loved her "resuce cat" as she called it, she would have handled it differently with you on the phone. For one thing, she would have thanked you and instantly would have offered to show you it's shot record so she could get her kitty back. She would have been grateful that someone was caring for it. If she had of loved it, it would have been spad or neutered.
As far as the legal standpoint... You did not take it from her property. So technically, you did not steal it. You helped it. And it even if it was considered a theft, it is not a felony. You live out of state where you FOUND the cat. There is no charge in any state within the United States that would prosecute you for taking in a stray cat that someone else claimed that you found in some other state.. NONE... Legally, she can forget it. And if she filed a civil lawsuit, they would not accept the case in a civil court... For one thing, she has no idea where you live. Papers have to be filed in a civil case informing you of a court date. They would laugh at her.
I have worked on and off in law enforcement for years. From a legal standpoint, it is ridiculous.
Enjoy your kitty...
post #20 of 22
Difficult situation because I guess technically, it was taking the law into your own hands, and I guess you could (if this woman chose to pursue it) end up in a whole heap of trouble. Saying that, I can't think of any normal, caring person who wouldn't do exactly the same thing if an animal was being mistreated. From what you have said about this woman, she doesn't sound fit to keep her anyway.

Good luck with her
post #21 of 22
Am I guessing right that you know in your heart you did the morally right thing, but it bothers you that this lady and the SCHOOL do not see it that way? The woman is obviously not all there (white trash or not, there are some white trashy folks who actually DO take animal care very seriously) and the "school" or whoever represents it doesd not understand cat care. I think Catsknowme put it BEAUTIFULLY and someone at the school needs to hear it in those words. (just my opinion).
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowLeop View Post
I think it would be extremely difficult for this owner to prove ownership, though, if she hadn't fed the cat, put a tag on her, spayed her, or given her her shots. I mean, what claim does this person have to this cat if she didn't do any of those things?
I agree- sounds like this cat needed a happy home and hopefully that is what the OP can provide
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