When a freshly bathed, neutered kitten called Porkchop accidentally got out the door of his owner’s apartment in January, he was found by an upstairs neighbor and taken to the Mobile Co pound in AL. The pound killed the kitten within minutes of his arrival. Now the owner has filed a lawsuit.
At issue is the pound’s failure to hold the cat for the mandatory five day stray holding period so that his owner could reclaim him.
The lawsuit names Mobile County and three employees, Andrew Stubbs, Carmelo Miranda and Donna Jones as defendants, claiming the employees violated a shelter policy placing a five-day hold on animals between the time they are received and when they are euthanized. There are a total of four counts including outrage, conversion, conspiracy and negligent supervision. Hughes is asking for a jury trial to consider compensatory and punitive damages.
“[The shelter] has a five-day stray hold policy for this very reason, if somebody lost a pet,” Barnard said. “It’s certainly not a 30-minute stray hold policy.”
Making a tragic situation worse, the pound staff attempted to cover up the unlawful killing when the owner came looking for her pet. The staff eventually admitted they had killed Porkchop but later claimed he had been brought to the pound in a trap and was determined upon impound to be feral.
The owner’s attorney has obtained “a statement and pictures from the neighbor showing that the cat rode to the shelter in his lap and was acting like a normal, domesticated pet.” The attorney contends that because Porkchop was admitted near the end of the day, the pound staff was too lazy to set up a cage for him so killed the pet instead. Mobile Co is in the wrong here, in so many ways:
- Killing healthy/treatable cats, whether tame or feral, is wrong.
- Killing cats upon impound is wrong.
- Evaluating cats’ behavior at time of impound is wrong.
- Failing to hold a cat so the owner can find him is wrong.
- Lying to the owner who is looking for her cat is wrong.
- Fabricating a story about the cat being feral is wrong.
Anyone advocating for the removal of mandatory holding periods for stray cats lacking identification needs to remember Porkchop. His owner was looking for him and wanted him back. Had the staff at the Mobile Co pound done their jobs as required by law, Porkchop would be living at home today. Presumably most AL shelters, though not Mobile Co obviously, abide by the law and hold unidentified stray cats so their owners can reclaim them. If the stray holding period law were to be removed, there would be no legal protections in place to allow cats like Porkchop to be returned to their rightful owners.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)