Animals

Cat Wins Settlement After Court Battle

cat-wins-settlement-after-court-battle

A lawsuit-winning cat is about to receive the biggest treat ever after snagging a cool $125,000 settlement from Bellevue and King County following a three-year court battle.

The notorious cat named “Miska” by its owner, Anna Danieli, is “the most prosecuted cat in King County and in the City of Bellevue.” Danieli and her attorneys alleged that one of the neighbors who filed complaints against the cat was also the head of King County’s Regional Animal Services. The attorneys claimed that the situation was a “grave conflict of interest” and overreach by a government official.

The lawsuit stemmed from around $30,000 in fines and more than 30 violations for the cat’s alleged behavior in the town.

Dating all the way back to 2012, Regional Animal Services of King County issued violations for claims that Miska trespassed, taunted other pets in the area, and committed other infractions. One of Miska’s neighbors also claimed the cat had killed “dozens” of animals over the years, including “stalking” a neighborhood dog.

In the past, several minor agreements have been reached to determine what to do with Miska, each falling through in one way or another.

In 2014, a “confinement order” was issued against Miska, essentially placing the cat on house arrest. This required Danieli to keep her in a fenced area secured “with a padlock to prevent accidental release,” or to be leashed when outside the confines of her property. Danieli refused to keep Miska locked up since the cat would be extremely unhappy.

In 2015, Danieli signed surrender forms for Miska but then refused to release Miska to a new family when they arrived to pick Miska up.

To put the complaints to bed, Danieli filed a lawsuit alleging governmental overreach, arguing her neighbor is an animal control manager involved in many of the complaints. Danieli’s attorneys also believed Miska’s violations should be voided because the City of Bellevue did not properly update its domestic cat code.

In addition to the $125,000 settlement, the lawsuit spurred a court order that resulted in changes to Bellevue’s City Code and the way that civil offenses involving animals are heard.

“We are committed to continually improving our policies in partnership with King County,” the city’s official statement said.

According to Bellevue’s Chief Communications Officer Brad Harwood, this legal dispute cost the City of Bellevue a total of $25,000.

Source: https://mynorthwest.com/3460416/infamous-bellevue-cat-wins-large-settlement-due-to-conflict-of-interest/

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