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To sue or not to sue ?

(271 Posts)
PussyGalour Sun 14-Jun-09 11:50:32

That is the question.
Grap a cuppa this is long grin

I've posted on here before about this but situation has changed slightly so things have moved on.

We moved house 2 years ago and our beautiful cat whom we had bought at great expensive (£500) to bred from ran away or so we thought. As it happens after we'd literally walked/drove around the streets, put up posters for months another child at our daughters school went to another parent at the schools house and said oh look that's DD's cat.
So upon learning this we approached them and they basically said they thought he was a stray (yeah right he's clearly a pedigree) and he is chipped and had a collar on - this of course may have come off but that's why you chip them isn't it.
So they refused to hand him back and we didn't really know what to do because we didn't want a custody over a cat thinking they were taking good care of him.
One day out of the blue she called me to say the cat was ill and she'd taken him to the vets where they'd decided to neuter him, knowing damn well he's our cat angry I said they had better not, she said it was already done angry
Today he has appeared in our garden and we've caught him and caged him and I'm keeping him.
But I'm so angry about the fact we cannot bred from our own animal.
Bit of background he is the purest of pure, I spent literally 12 months looking for a cat of his quality, paid over the odds and drove 8 hours with the children in the back to collect him.
To bred from cats you have to wait until they are 12 months old, so he was literally just about ready when he went missing.
I reckon this whole excercise has cost me £5,000 in loss of income and cost of replacing and waiting for a new kitten to become old enough to bred.
So who would you sue, the woman for stealing our cat and operating on him or the vet for doing the op on a cat that was chipped and they didn't own ?

Nancy66 Sun 14-Jun-09 11:55:50

Neither. Will cost you far more to bring any legal action than you will ever be rewarded.

did you not go to the police?

Quattrocento Sun 14-Jun-09 11:56:01

This is not my field, however I would say in general that the trouble with bringing any action is that it is likely to be expensive.

There is a weakness in the fact-pattern here because you clearly acquiesced to giving up your cat "we didn't really know what to do because we didn't want a custody over a cat thinking they were taking good care of him" You could clearly have got him back legally then - he was chipped, after all.

So personally I would just write it off to experience.

Ewe Sun 14-Jun-09 11:56:49

I wouldn't sue, I would write it off as one of those very annoying things that just happen.

Surely the woman who 'stole' him must be genuine to an extent otherwise why would she have neutered him? That makes him worthless so she wasn't going to get anything out of it apart from paying for an operation and food/stuff for however long he lived with her.

You just have to let it go and move on IMO, suing is rarely a solution.

EldonAve Sun 14-Jun-09 11:57:50

I doubt you would win against the woman as you discovered she had your cat and then did nothing

pranma Sun 14-Jun-09 11:59:44

Was it your vet?If you were so concerned you maybe should have made more fuss when you found out where he was-surely as he was chipped the police would have sorted it.At this point you cant really sue anyone as you appeared to accept the situation when you 'thought they were taking good care of him'.Maybe you could show him in neuter classes and buy a new stud cat.What breed is he?If you only wanted him to breed not as a pet then give him to them[sorry].

bigstripeytiger Sun 14-Jun-09 11:59:46

I agree, the time for doing something was when you discovered that she had him.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sun 14-Jun-09 11:59:56

You let her keep the cat when you first discovered she had it instead of taking it to the vet to prove ownership, way to late I am afraid.

PussyGalour Sun 14-Jun-09 12:01:16

That's why I'm thinking maybe the vet is liable on the basis that you can tell if a cat is chipped by feeling the neck and surely he should have checked especially as the woman called me whilst the cat was at the vets as she didn't know his history and wanted to check something so this conversation about how she came about him must have taken place for the vet to ask her to find out from me ?

PussyGalour Sun 14-Jun-09 12:04:22

He's a pet too they are not having him especially as they are letting him roam around, anyone could take him or he could be hit by a car.
It was very difficult at the time because what do you do, call the police on people that are at your daughters school ?
Plus they are grandparents of the child and he was on trial for manslaughter at the time (not guilty I should say) but I didn't want to cause them any more trouble but clearly I should have

benandalex Sun 14-Jun-09 12:04:49

Why would the vet be liable for all the vet knows you gave the cat to this woman .!!

curiositykilled Sun 14-Jun-09 12:05:36

I'd give her the cat back and move on. It's likely the court would only award you the cost of the cat anyway. Clearly you should have gone to the police when you originally discovered she had the cat if you wanted it back but that's easy to say with hindsight now. I think if it's really necessary you could ask her to pay the original £500 as she has got the cat and she should have done everything in her power to try and return it to it's owner if she thought it was a stray. But I wouldn't hold too much hope. I think there are more important things in life than money or expensive cats (don't want that to sound horrible) and maybe you should focus on them.

PussyGalour Sun 14-Jun-09 12:06:18

She is not having the cat.
No matter what he's staying here.

ShinyPinkShoes Sun 14-Jun-09 12:06:44

No-one is liable but you I'm afraid
You knew she had your cat but failed to call the police and sort it out therefore by your inaction she was able to keep it.

PussyGalour Sun 14-Jun-09 12:06:50

I thought I'd made it clear we did not give her the cat, she refused to hand him over.

PussyGalour Sun 14-Jun-09 12:08:10

They may well be more important things than cats and money but both are important to me right now.

lljkk Sun 14-Jun-09 12:08:42

You'd have no chance in a lawsuit because you didn't take the cat back almost the moment you found him. Your hesitation then made it reasonable for the other party to assume that the cat was theirs to treat as they saw fit.

Methinks that animals as investments is a daft idea.

lljkk Sun 14-Jun-09 12:11:25

Ah, you didn't make it clear that she was refusing to hand over.

Okay so you were trying to be compassionate about their family troubles by not going to a soliciter when she refused, but then how can you be surprised that they went ahead & treated the cat as entirely their own -- you were no more than a previous owner in their minds.

wotulookinat Sun 14-Jun-09 12:12:44

YOu were irresponsible to let an unneutered cat out in the first place.

PussyGalour Sun 14-Jun-09 12:13:57

Hmmm you see I think that's unforgivable to just consider it their own and treat it accordingly.
Having been told by other parents and ourselves that it was not and knowing she hadn't bought it from anybody it not much more than theft.
I am mightly pissed off.

curiositykilled Sun 14-Jun-09 12:14:06

I'd say that the other family have a pretty good basis to claim that they now own the cat so I'm not sure you have any right to keep it. However, if you feel so strong about keeping it you need to just forget about the money and the neutering.

junglist1 Sun 14-Jun-09 12:14:16

I don't blame you for being angry. How dare someone just steal your pet like that, did they not think how your children might feel losing a pet? Well out of order, once you've taken a cat in it's their responsibility to make sure it really is a stray.

PussyGalour Sun 14-Jun-09 12:14:38

NOBODY would let out an unneutred pedigree cat, he escaped when we moved house.

EldonAve Sun 14-Jun-09 12:14:40

I think it is definitely worth calling the vet to complain and see what they say

You are of course well within your rights to keep him now that you have him back

Swedes Sun 14-Jun-09 12:14:49

Legally she didn't steal your cat as her belief in abandonment means that she didn't form the mens rea for theft (dishonesty and/or an intention to permanenty deprive).

Also is it just me that thinks you are a bit odd to have left your cat with her once you found her again? If he was chipped you would presumable have had proof of your ownership at that point. But you now want to sue her because you have lost future earnings on the income from breeding from the cat? Were you letting the new owner pay vets' fees and for day to day care of the cat whilst still planning to to profit from the cat breeding in future? That is really very odd.

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