Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Carmel on the Case: Cat Fight
With tens of thousands of cats put to sleep every year because no one wants them, it might seem strange that two local humane societies got into a dispute over a nine-year-old feline, but they did. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is On the Case of what you could call, a cat fight.
WSVN -- She's a nine-year-old Himalayan who has spent some her nine lives in various homes throughout South Florida. On this day, she was at the Broward County Humane Society as a stray waiting to see if her most recent owners would come to claim her, but in Boca Raton, the Ttri-county Humane Society was trying to get Broward Humane to give the cat to them.
Jeannette Christos: "The cat that is in question right now was adopted in 2003. The microchip is registered to Tri County Humane Society. We paid to have that registered in our name. We are the owners of the cat."
Jeannette Christos is the executive director of Tri-County. She says it is a no kill shelter and animals here get a lifelong commitment to life.
Jeannette Christos: "Our concern is that whenever an animal comes through our doors, it's safe forever and that's how we feel."
But she was concerned the cat in question if not claimed or adopted would be euthanized, and that lead to a series of unpleasant phone calls.
Jeanette Christos: "Well, number one, there shouldn't be a dispute like this over one cat. If they could guarantee me they were not going to euthanize this cat there wouldn't be a problem, but they can not do that and they will not do that."
Although both shelters share the words Humane Society in their titles. They are not related to each other or to a national organization. As a result, they operate independently and make their own policies.
Cherie Wachter: "The cat came to us a stray cat. It was found in south Broward."
Cherie Wachter of the Broward Humane Society says it appears the original family that adopted the cat from Tri-County left town four years ago. Clearly someone else has cared for the cat since. She says it would have gone right back to Tri-County if the original adoption had been more recent.
Cherie Wachter: "If it would have been adopted from them three weeks ago and came in as a stray, and it was registered to them, and the person did not update the information, you know we would have called them and said look we have a cat, do you want it back?"
But since so much time has passed, Broward considers it a stray cat. However, wachter says if the cat did not find a home, it would then be returned to Tri-County contrary to what chrisos understood.
Cherie Wachter: "If it's not adopted, yes, then we could return the cat to them."
Jeanette Christos: "All we want is our cat back to make sure it's safe."
In this case, it looks like all is ending well even though no owner showed up to claim the cat.
Broward Humane adopted her to a couple that splits their time between South Florida and Maine, and it looks like the Feline's new life will be that of a jet setter.
Jeanette Christos: "No one has relayed that message to us that they had a home for the cat."
So it's one less cat for Tri-County to worry about, but the debate between the two well meaning humane societies over who owns shelter pets that end up homeless again is not likely to end any time soon.
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