Five months in jail for taking the wrong kittens

A man, Patryk Ligeza, 24, who was searching for his missing kittens thought he saw them in someone’s house. He reached in through an open window to retrieve them. He was observed by the homeowner and a neighbour. They called the police when he refused to give one of the two cats back. He insisted they belonged to him. He remained at the property until the police officers arrived and did not struggle or flee.

He was held on remand for five months waiting for his trial. Being held on remand means being incarcerated in jail pending trial and is usually reserved for serious crimes.

When his trial for burglary finally took place, it was thrown out unceremoniously by the judge who could see no crime in his actions. Judge Graham Robinson said:

“He believed he saw his two cats in the complainant’s house and he was retrieving what he believed to be his property….It is obvious there was no crime in this, no malice and no dishonesty.”

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) abandoned the case at court. They offered no evidence.

To add insult to injury, Mr Ligeza’s kittens were found and rehomed while he was on remand. Bearing in mind that he was very keen to find his kittens, this is a very sad ending to a story about an injustice. I would doubt he’ll get them back. Perhaps he will. His kittens should have been micro-chipped. It would have stopped all this chaos.

This little vignette of cat living with cats in England encourages me to ask how far would I go to recover my lost cat. I’d do all I possibly could and I do something like Mr Ligeza’s ‘crime’ if needs be. It makes me think though.

Source: Hull Daily Mail via the Times

5 thoughts on “Five months in jail for taking the wrong kittens”

  1. There is no excuse for breaking, entering, and robbery even though I have to admit that I would probably have committed those crimes over any cat/kitten that I believed was mine and taken.
    I just would have had to accept that each one of those crimes carried a 5 year prison term here, a total of 15 years. I don’t believe that any judge here would have dismissed this case. These are very serious crimes here.

  2. I’m sorry that Mr Ligeza hasn’t found his missing kittens and spent 5 months on remand before the case against him was dismissed. Not that it justifies their actions, but perhaps his previous prison sentence for shoplifting made the CPS think they could prove he was some kind of petty thief?

    Since 2003 I’ve had all of my cats microchipped. Initially I did it to comply with the pet travel scheme, but continued to do so because I value the definitive proof of ownership that comes with a microchip.

    I would be prepared to pursue all legal means to recover my cats if necessary. After we split up, my ex kept stalling returning Sophie to me. I knew he was holding her to ransom out of spite and I contemplated hiring a lawyer to demand she be handed back. Fortunately it didn’t quite come to that, but I was so glad she’d been microchipped and registered in my name. Relationship break ups are not always amicable, so I think that’s another area where microchipping and registering pets can save a lot of heartache.

  3. I don’t understand what you mean when you say it takes
    “a bit of effort”. You mean taking the cat to be micro-chipped? If we haven’t lost our cat, we’re in a good position to take a “preventative” step by micro-chipping. I guess people who’ve lost pets might be more willing to make the effort? I just thought it made sense, even though I’ve never lost a pet.

  4. Here’s another story we can learn from. I know there is controversy about “micro-chipping”, but I’d rather take the risk, and get it for my cat. (which I have!)

    I’ve never experienced any of my cats getting lost, but I can imagine that it would be a horrible, helpless feeling. At least with a micro-chip, if she ends up in a shelter, I’d be called. This is why it’s so important to update the records if we move, and our phone, email changes.

    I volunteered in a shelter for 2 years, and I saw some cats who were micro-chipped, but the contact info was outdated. Most shelters have no time to try to find owners, so it’s up to us to check the shelters every few days, after we fill out the initial report.

    If you’re a working person, it makes it even more difficult to have the time to do the things that might make a difference in finding your cat. In that case, I’d enlist the help of a friend who has some time to post and search online, and visit the shelters.

    I see many Facebook posts for lost/found animals who aren’t micro-chipped. In my area, it’s only $10 and many times done free at the shelters. If you care, this is a basic thing to provide for your companion animals.

    Your risks are 1)less chance of reuniting with your pet or 2)the microchip will be a problem What’s your choice?


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