Cat wins $125,000 settlement after being falsely accused of offences

Innocent! That’s the satisfying verdict that Miska the cat waited for so long for. Finally, following an arduous procedure spanning multiple jurisdictions, a cat and his mistress have emerged victorious.

Bellevue Patch reported that brown tabby Miska and his owner Anna Danieli were awarded a $125,000 settlement last month after the puss was wrongfully convicted of a string of offences.

The duo’s struggles with the law date back to 2014, when Regional Animal Services of King County issued several citations involving Miska in Bellevue, Washington.

According to the services, the feline had violated neighbors’ property rights, attacked other pets, and committed significant harm. As a result, Anna Danieli reportedly received fines totaling more than $30,000 for nearly thirty supposed infractions over the years.

Under Washington State regulations and laws, as well as the United States’ National Animal Welfare Act, domestic cats and other animals are protected in the state. However, King County and the City of Bellevue each have local regulations concerning animal-related civil violations.

Since the claimed violations were said to be continuous, local authorities challenged Anna Danieli’s fitness as a pet owner. By 2017, Animal control services removed Miska from his mistress’s care.

News Tribune wrote that the puss spent some time in an animal facility. He eventually returned to his mistress, only after Danieli paid high kenneling fees.

A lengthy battle

In response, Anna filed a lawsuit against King County and other government entities in 2019. Unfortunately, poor Miska vanished around that period.

Danieli’s attorneys, Jeffrey Possinger and John Zimmerman claimed that the county had overreacted. Therefore, they sought money in reparation for all the allegations and the subsequent damage inflicted on their client.

The case was heard by a succession of courts, including the state Court of Appeals and Pierce County Superior Court. In addition, Anna’s team built a website highlighting their struggle and used social media to raise the case’s profile.

After a three-year litigation, Anna and her lawyers won their case. In May 2022, the owner was awarded a substantial settlement for all her troubles.

Today, the two lawyers of the case hope that this trial will lead to more transparency in cases involving pets.

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