Landlord Threatens Lawsuit Over Cat Colony

Cats in trap, neuter and release program deemed a nuisance.

Posted: October 05, 2006, 5 a.m. EST

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A land owner next door to a feral cat colony that animal activists maintain has threatened to sue the town of Rutland, Vt., because of property damage allegedly caused by the cats. Landlord David Searles contends that it’s the city’s responsibility to keep wandering cats off his property.

Last week, Searles stormed out of City Hall threatening a lawsuit.

For the past six years, Rutland has cooperated with City Cat Allies, a group trying to curb the cat population by spaying and neutering stray and feral felines. To accomplish that goal, the group has created trap-neuter-release colonies across the city where the animals are fed and group members can trap them and send them to veterinarians who spay or neuter and inoculate them. The cats are then returned to the neighborhood.

The colonies are located mostly at members’ homes, but the cats visiting the colony near Searles’ property have wandered away from the colony’s boundaries. Searles has complained about damage to his building and droppings left on his property from the cats.

“Apparently cats have more rights than you and I. I can have the police remove someone who’s trespassing on my property, but I can't get anyone to do anything about these cats,” Searles reportedly said last week during a meeting of the city’s Charter and Ordinance Committee.

Committee members were trying to decide whether the city’s nuisance animal ordinance needed to be reworded to include cats, which are largely unmentioned in the dog-oriented ordinance. However, the aldermen couldn’t come to a consensus on how to handle the animals, according to a report in the Rutland Herald newspaper.

Searles argued that the cats were creating a legal liability for him because of the chance that a child could get sick from the animals’ droppings. He said that if he was sued, he’d take the city to court with him, according to the report.

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Landlord Threatens Lawsuit Over Cat Colony

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Reader Comments

moo    dayton, OH

9/29/2010 6:29:20 AM

The landlord should set live traps. Catch them and take them to the pound. Its what we do. Cat owners if you love your animals so much then keep them in and keep them from being your neighbors problem! I own no cats but have to put up with cats in my area also. They climb and scratch my cars, spray and ruin your landscaping, climb on my house window and we are NOT cat owners. Why do I have to pick up my dogs poo but I have to constantly put up with nasty cats all over my property when I am not a cat owner???? Its bull crap and the laws should be the same for cat owners as dog owners. Cats are one of the nastiest animals you can own. Doctors dont want you to even clean up after them if your pregnant or have illness cause there droping are toxic along with there pee and cats are one of the leading carriers of parvo. They run everywhere and spread it. Not the dogs there all at home.

Nicholas Morrison-Chase    Brooklyn, NY

3/24/2009 6:30:44 PM

First of all, Sheila King of William VA and Chrissy of Highstown NJ, the landlord has these cat activists dead to rights. The landlord has repeatedly cleaned up after this disgusting creatures. He has constantly made complaints to the Rutland authorities. Rutland, Vermont is too stupid and lazy to take action. Moving on, you both clearly know ZERO about Vermont laws and regs so let me fill you in. VT law says that the property owner has the right to a clean premises. If after repeated attempts to keep his/her property clean, that person can take action. Your comment, Chrissy about the landlord cleaning for once was uncalled for an deeply disrespectful. Then again, you're from Jersey so I have to feel sorry for you. As for you Sheila, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with these nasty creatures being vaccinated. This has everything to do with them coming on to the landlord's property and destroying it. I am all in favor of the landlord not only suing the city of Rutland and anyone else who gets in his way for negligence over this issue but for disposing of these creatures without further ado. These pet owners have been given countless warnings. So, before you go shooting off comments like this, you better get your facts straight. The landlord is not out for money, Chrissy. Again, you're from Jersey so whatever. His real problem, Sheila is the fact that no one cares about the laws and regs anymore. Don't like the truth? Too bad.

Sheila    King William, VA

1/19/2009 1:11:49 PM

I really doubt that the cats are using his property as their personal litter box! The cats are being vaccinated, so disease should'nt be a problem - sooooo what is his real problem?

Chrissy    hightstown, NJ

11/8/2006 2:30:14 PM

This guy needs to back off. they are tending to the cats who are outside and that is where they live. I also rescue cats and the guy is only concerning with making money over the welfare of animals. If your so concerned with fecal matter, try cleaning for once. I am sick of landowners thinking a home is all you need to be happy. Pets should be allowed in or around the residence.

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