Saturday, May 15, 2010

Of Lawsuits, Adoptions and Trauma (Reply)

(Picture left: Cat on one of the urgent and current Alerts sent out from Brooklyn Animal Control. Pretty "Mystique" looks like "Linya," one of the cats in the stories today. Hopefully, Mystique finds a home or rescue.)

Amby111 Writes: There is definitely more to this story than what appears in the article. Who knows what this idiot did to provoke the cat. The extent of her "injury" sounds far fetched to me. I suppose she is completely oblivious to the fact that this lawsuit will likely make it harder for rescues to adopt out animals in stores like Petco.

Reply: We can be quite sure Ms. "Cost-Ya" doesn't give a damn about how her frivolous lawsuit will impact offsite, public adoptions. Greedy, narcissists don't care about others, be they animals or people.

Twelve years ago, when doing cat adoptions out of Petco on East 86th Street, we had to unfortunately deal with a nut like this one.

We had just arrived at the store and were setting up cages. A couple of the cats were nervous just having endured a long car ride from Brooklyn.

I noted a woman coming around the side of one of the cages and before I could say anything, she stuck her hand in the cage. The white cat she moved her hand towards was clearly scared and stressed. "Snowy" was literally cringing in back of the cage and even hissed a couple of times.

I tried to warn the woman to get her hand out, but within a split second, Snowy jutted out her paw and a claw caught the woman's finger. It was a jab, rather than an actual scratch or bite.

I went to the woman to examine her finger. It appeared the way one's foot does when pulling out a splinter from a boardwalk. There was a tiny pin prick of blood that one practically needed a magnifying glass to see.

"Do you want some alcohol and a Band-Aid for that?" I asked.

"Oh no!" she laughed. "Its nothing!"

The woman left the store and I didn't think anymore about it. She was obviously an idiot for putting her hand near a hissing, frightened cat.

The next day, the woman showed up again and this time she approached me with her finger in a heavy, gauge bandage.

"I had to go to the Emergency Room last night!" she exclaimed.

Trying to hide my total shock, I stammered, "What?", huh,,....I don't understand!...What happened?"

"Well, my finger swelled up last night! I have an infection. Where is the cat? Do you have proof of shots? Do you have insurance?"

I pulled out the cat's medical record (of course she had shots) and told the woman I did not have insurance.

She then went to the manager of the store and falsely claimed that Snowy bit her.

But, that was not the worst of it.

Apparently this scam artist (and nut) signed herself into a hospital a short time later for something like a week or two.

She then attempted to sue Petco a couple of months later!

One of my volunteers and I had to give depositions.

I remember getting a copy of the medical records from the hospital. There was nothing on the records about treatment for a cat bite or scratch (it was really a jab). The woman had a whole bunch of tests run, none of which had anything at all to do with cats or "infection."

The lawsuit didn't go anywhere. One imagines a large corporation like Petco has good lawyers.

But, we certainly had to change policies after this incident.

Signs had to be put on all cages, warning people to keep their hands and fingers out.

The volunteer who had been with me that day, became very nervous, wary and overprotective of the cats.

"PLEASE, keep your dogs away from the cats!" she would shriek to people who approached the dog food isle with their dogs. "Keep your children back!"

I too, was much more nervous when people went towards our cages: "Please read and respect our signs. -- There is a reason for them."

I of course, no longer do public adoptions and this is one of the biggest reasons why. It is almost impossible to watch everyone all of the time -- especially in a busy store like Petco. During the time this pending "law suit" hung over our heads, I was a nearly paranoid, dysfunctional wreck.

Of course the woman who brought the lawsuit against Kittykind and Petco is every bit as full of crap as the nut case we had to deal with twelve years ago.

Time in a hospital? "Can't work" for six months?

Give me a break!

My very first rescue of a quasi-feral, gray cat in a trap resulted in the terrified feline sinking her teeth deeply into my middle finger and holding on for a good five seconds or so. I bled heavily for more than an hour! (and I am normally not a bleeder.)

I was actually on my way to the vet to get the cat ("Linya") spayed and vaccinated. When finally walking into his office (the incident happened on a bus) with my finger still bleeding through a heavy white towel, he casually shrugged and told me, "Just get some alcohol for it."

I bought a bottle of alcohol and kept my bleeding finger in it for what seemed like hours. I actually thought I might bleed to death!

At the time, I was working as a typist at the Fund for Animals.

The next day my entire hand (and part of my arm) was all the colors of the rainbow and swollen almost three times the normal size!

But, I never went to a doctor, nor did I miss even one day of work.

My typing over the next couple of weeks of course left a lot to be desired, but eventually the injury and infection healed on its own.

So, yes, cat bites can result in infections. But, the human body is a miraculous instrument if we just let it take care of everyday accidents on its own.

The woman's lawsuit against Petco and Kittykind is a total sham and I hope it is exposed in court for what it really is: a blatant and outrageous attempt to extort money.

Still, the really sad thing is that even if the lawsuit is thrown out and even if Petco does not change its relationship with rescue groups, the rescue people who are targets of the vicious suit will themselves be forever changed -- just like we were twelve years ago.

Trauma has a way of changing us:

I never suffered a serious bite again (from either cat or dog) after the incident with "Linya." (I learned to be extra careful!)

And as said, I don't do public adoptions anymore. (Can't supervise all the nuts out there and trust me, the woman in the article and the loon we dealt with more than a decade ago are not the only ones seeking "easy opportunity and money.")

As for the cats in both stories, both were eventually adopted and went on to live long, happy lives.

"Snowy" especially became the apple of her owner's eye (another rescuer in her own right) and developed into Ava's very favorite cat! "Snowy, my Love!" Ava called her. -- PCA


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