Bellevue family sues city, county after 10-year-old cat cited 30 times
BELLEVUE, Wash. – Many of us treat our pets like another member of the family. That’s why one Bellevue family took their complaints to a lawyer after they say a neighbor is targeting their cat.
Those complaints make their cat, a brown Tabby name Miska, the cat with the most violations in King County. According to The Law Offices of Jon Zimmerman, out of the 20,000 animal infractions over the past ten years, 50 of those claims were against cats in Bellevue. Out of the 50 cat infractions, 30 of them were against Miska.
Now, Miska’s family is suing the city of Bellevue, King County, King County Hearing Examiner, Regional Animal Services of King County, David Spohr, Dow Constantine, Brad Miyake, Gene Mueller, and Tim Anderson.
“It just seems very friendly. It's friendly with my dog. It's friendly with people,” said neighbor Kathleen Rollock.
But one of their neighbors called the cat vicious, saying it attacked some rabbits in a neighbor’s yard, but Rollock says it’s just a cat being a cat.
“If it wanted to get a bunny, it would get a bunny,” said Rollock.
Over the next five years, Miska’s owners allege one of their neighbors spent the last five years trying to rid the neighborhood of the cat, citing an ordinance passed in Bellevue in 2010 that says domestic animals don’t have the right to freely roam. Once things escalated in 2017, Miska’s family hired attorney Jon Zimmerman.
“The same person who complained against Miska, one of the same people who complained against Miska, is the person who signs the deportation order, which we consider to be a grave conflict of interest,” said attorney Jon Zimmerman.
The deportation order can only be signed by the animal control manager, who is also a neighbor filing the complaint. Gene Mueller was the former manager and signed a form back in 2017 when Miska was thrown in Kitty Jail for several months facing fines, euthanasia, and deportation out of the county.
“The government is willing to spend incredible taxpayer resources to engage in this to the point where they’ve actually assigned four prosecutors to this case,” said Zimmerman.
Zimmerman says Miska’s family fought back and saved Miska’s life. Even though Gene Mueller is no longer the county’s animal control manager, the cat’s family hasn’t forgotten the pain and heartbreak they say he’s caused, so they filed a lawsuit demanding all violations against Miska be dropped.
“It really is outrageous and egregious,” said Zimmerman.
Back in the neighborhood, Rollock says she can’t believe things have escalated to this point.
“It’s just gotten too far and I feel very bad for that family because it’s a beloved pet,” said Rollock.
Q13 News contacted the city of Bellevue, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Regional Animal Service of King County who are all listed as defendants on the lawsuit. A representative from the county’s executive office said no one would be willing to comment on pending litigation. Zimmerman says his clients have not asked for monetary damages at this time.