Despite one New York feral cat caretaker believing to the contrary, no one owns a feral, or genuine stray, cat even if they feed the cat or decide that they “keep” the cat along with others in a colony of stray cats. It seems common sense to me. A feral cat caretaker does not “keep” a feral cat. He or she “cares” for the cat.
This is a tragic story of nastiness and I suspect there may be an element of racism in this story although I stress there is no evidence to support that.
Gwen Jurmark did her bit to look after stray and feral cats in Raoul Wallenberg Park, Bronx, NY. Apparently, she fed them and perhaps organized TNR; I don’t know. She is one of the many feral cat carers that are all over America, who I normally admire, tremendously. Not in this case, sadly.
For some reason, one cat of the colony, a sick cat that had been neutered under a TNR program, with the usual clipped left ear, was singled out by a person, we are not told who. She or he took this cat to a local veterinarian, Dr. Shirley Koshi. The cat was named “Karl”. He was cared from Dr Koshi and his health improved. The fact that Karl settled in quickly indicates he was not born a feral cat.
Dr. Koshi appears to be of Indian nationality (wrong? please tell me). She was probably a naturalised American (granted American citizenship).
Weeks after Dr. Koshi’s treatment and care for Karl, Gwen Jurmark told Dr. Koshi, in so many words, that she “owned” Karl. That is the argument she made because she asked Dr Koshi to hand Karl over to her.
That was a ridiculous request because Gwen had no genuine claim, in my opinion. Feeding a genuine feral cat that is left outside to fend for himself has no legal human owner. In any case the law on cat ownership is archaic and out of date. But it gets worse because when Dr. Koshi refused to hand Karl over Gwen sued in the local court.
The court case naturally upset Dr, Koshi. Then Gwen appears to have organised a demonstration outside Dr Koshi’s surgery and made online attacks of her. Her business went downhill and she became badly depressed eventually taking her own life.
This is a ridiculously nasty tale of what appears to be malicious behavior by someone who should know better because she likes cats. People who like cats should be decent people. Apparently that is not always the case.
If the facts of this story are true, I am sure that in the eyes of many people Gwen Jurmark has behaved unforgivably because although we can understand an attachment to a cat, feral and genuine stray cats do not have a human owner.
Note (1): the full detail of the story is unknown to me and probably others. There may be other elements to the story which alter its morality. My opinion is based upon what I read. Note (2): Some “stray cats” are not really strays. They are wandering cats with a “legal owner”.
In my opinion no cat, feral or otherwise, is owned by a person. We live with our cat and look after our cat willingly. That is the mutual agreement and the law is a million miles from this beneficial arrangement.
These are my direct and immediate thoughts without reference to any document. If someone disagrees please tell me.
Note: My thanks to Rudolph for finding the story and telling me about it.