Indoor/outdoor cat persecuted in Bellevue, Washington under strict companion animal laws

Miska. Photo: WNEP
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Miska is described as a badass cat, the baddest cat in the US but she’s just a standard free-roaming, tabby, indoor/outdoor cat who happens to live in Bellevue, Washington, USA, where there are extensive animal laws/regulations governing cat and dog ownership under Bellevue Municipal Code Title 8. For example, cats have to be licensed. And, for example, there are extensive laws against cats and dogs becoming a ‘nuisance’ under 8.04.300.

UPDATE May 12, 2022: The story was first reported in April 2019. There is an interesting update. In short, Miska’s owner, Anna Danieli, has received a settlement of US$125,000 from the authorities in compensation as she was unjustifiably prosecuted. In the words of the attorney to Miska’s owner, Jon Zimmerman: “This case was about the unjustified and incredible prosecution of a domestic house cat in Bellevue. This was really an historic settlement involving a cat in the state of Washington”. There have been calls for greater transparency in these sorts of cases because in this instance there was a conflict of interest as the head of animal control was one of the neighbours who filed complaints about Miska. Danieli didn’t even know the person.

Allegedly Miska has violated some of these laws and it has caused an unholy row between her owner, Anna Danieli, and the authorities. In all there have been 30 complaints.

That’s the tricky background. Miska ‘trespasses’. Cats don’t trespass normally but in Bellevue Washington cats can trespass and they can do normal things that cats do but get criminalised like humans for it.

Miska has racked up numerous infractions of the animal laws of Bellevue but there appears to be a single person behind this ‘persecution’ as I have described it. His name is Gene Mueller, a former animal control officer and neighbour. He has targeted Miska and his owner, Danieli. I guess he knows the law well too.

Apparently Miska has been ‘jailed’ in the past. She was placed in ‘kitty jail’ for several months. I am not sure what that was for, perhaps wandering onto someone’s backyard or a public beach. There have been threats to ‘deport’ the cat whatever that means.

Other neighbours have also complained. They don’t like inside/outside cats in Bellevue, Washington. It’s probably a very genteel place in pristine condition.

Trespassing cat Miska disturbs the birds
Trespassing cat Miska disturbs the birds

Because of Miska’s breaches of the local pet ownership regulations (correction: Danieli’s breaches as she’s in charge) the authorities in the form of Regional Animal Services (RASKC) have hired four lawyers to prosecute the case against this tabby cat and to seek an order that Miska is deported or euthanized.

Danieli has fought back by hiring a lawyer and starting a lawsuit against RASKC to have the charges against her and her cat dropped. She is also asking the court to make an order that RASKC drop the label of ‘vicious’ that they have applied to Miska.

Comment: the ‘problem’ is with Miska’s owner and her battle with the law and neighbours one of whom is a former animal control officer who is out to get her and her cat. That’s my reading of the situation. We don’t know how many other cats violate the law and whether they get away with it. I suspect there some.

The law in this neck of the woods appears to be designed to keep cats indoors at all times. Miska goes out. That’s the root of this unholy cat war.

4 thoughts on “Indoor/outdoor cat persecuted in Bellevue, Washington under strict companion animal laws”

  1. Not to be a wet blanket but perhaps Miska’s negligent guardian should stop letting her animals roam.
    If this cat loses her life you can be mad at the asshole who made all the complaints but the real culprit is the owner.
    If she needs outdoor time build a catio or teach her to walk on a leash.


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