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Seattle Has Been Fining A Cat Thousands Of Dollars. Yes, A Cat.

By  Ashe Schow

Okay, so technically the cat’s human has been getting the fines, but the whole story is ludicrous.

The Seattle Times reports what must have been one of the most fun stories of the year to write:

No cat in King County has a rap sheet longer than Miska.

The brown tabby has racked up thousands of dollars in fines while allegedly roaming her Bellevue neighborhood.

“The infractions, they just keep piling up,” said her attorney, Jon Zimmerman.

She even did hard time in King County’s “kitty jail.”

Now she’s turning to Pierce County to have her day in court.

Miska’s troubles began in 2014, when her human, Anna Danieli, started receiving violations for the 10-year-old brown tabby’s behavior. Alleged infractions included alleged trespassing and being a “vicious animal at large.” Zimmerman told the Times that Miska “is a normal 10-year-old cat. She is very loving. She is social. She is friendly. She is intelligent, and she is really an excellent feline companion.” Her lawsuit demands the violations against Miska be dropped and the Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) determination that she is “vicious” be voided, according to the Times.

In one of at least 30 complaints against Miska, a neighbor called her “beautiful but predatory,” an “exotic cat” and a “cheetah,” and claimed the tabby taunted the neighbor’s cats through their windows.

Danieli says in her lawsuit that Miska has been targeted because former RASKC Manager Gene Mueller lived in her neighborhood.

“…. of the approximately 20,000 infractions filed by RASKC over a ten-year period, approximately 50 involved cats, and most of these infractions involved Miska,” the lawsuit states.

When Miska was born, she was allowed to roam free in her neighborhood, but the lawsuit claims that changed sometime later. Danieli’s lawsuit claims four prosecutors have been assigned to Miska, and former RASKC manager Mueller tried to have the tabby euthanized in 2014.

“RASKC Manager Gene Mueller determined that Miska was ‘vicious’ and, in pursuit of his desire to separate Miska from Danieli and Miska’s family, Manager Mueller signed an order to have Miska euthanized or deported from King County,” the lawsuit said.

Miska’s life was obviously spared, but her troubles continued. In 2017, the lawsuit said, “RASKC personnel encouraged another of Danieli’s neighbors to file one or more complaints against Miska for purported trespassing on a neighbor’s property.”

RASKC then trapped Miska and took her to “kitty jail” — an animal control facility. She spent months there, “until she made bail” by way of kenneling fees paid by Danieli. While she was in the slammer, Danieli’s lawsuit said, Miska was kept in “solitary confinement” and denied visitation rights.

Danieli is even struggling to get Miska’s case heard, according to the Times:

Ultimately, Miska’s case ended up before the King County hearing examiner, who Danieli argues does not have jurisdiction.

The Bellevue City Code says the King County Board of Appeals is where a case goes when someone contests a violation from RASKC.

But that board stopped hearing such cases in 2016, and since then they’ve gone to the hearing examiner.

Since Bellevue City Code hadn’t been changed to reflect that, Danieli argues the hearing examiner does not have jurisdiction over the city’s animal enforcement cases and that Miska’s violations should be voided.

All of this over a cat.

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