Rescue contract violation: Outside walk for less than five minutes may cost Salem cat owner her cat

An outside walk on a leash for less than five minutes may cost a Salem, Massachusetts cat owner her cat. By taking the cat outside she’s considered in violation of the adoption contract.

Pamela and Muse (photo Matthew J. Lee)
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Pamela Howard adopted her cat Muse in June 2018. Muse had suffered horrible burns due to the neglect of his previous owner. Pamela took him home to her Salem condo and has spoiled him.

According to a report by The Boston Globe the adoption agency that gave Howard her beloved cat filed a lawsuit to take him back. There was no allegation that Howard abused or neglected Muse, or harmed him in any way.

The situation escalated when the rescue (who did file a lawsuit for repossession of Muse) stems from a Facebook post. On November 12 Pamela and Muse ran into a neighbor at her condo as the pair was coming up from the basement of the laundry room. The neighbors stepped outside to talk and Muse came along.

“Muse immediately started rolling on his back in the sun, on top of the leash, so I put the leash down and took a quick video with my phone.”

Pamela posted the video to Facebook with the title “My happy cat.”

The conversation between Pamela and the rescue:

“Hi I just saw a video please tell me you don’t let Muse outside. Having heart palpitations,” it said.

Howard replied: “Hi, I had him out with his collar and leash this morning in my yard. Is that a problem?”

Howard said she wasn’t aware of how restrictive the adoption agency contract was, even though she signed it: “Adopted cats are not to go outside, including on a deck, or on a leash … If you adopt one of our cats and we find out you intentionally let the cat out, we will reclaim our cat. If you prefer we can go through my lawyer.”

So far it’s cost Pamela $3,000 in legal fees and she’s holding firm in not giving Muse back to the rescue (I won’t name them here but you can find the rescue name in the source article). She says she’s his guardian and protector and could never give him up.

Despite promising never to allow Muse outside again, a lawsuit was filed by Jeremy Cohen of Beverly. The case was heard in court on December 11 where Judge Emily Karstetter ruled that she lacked jurisdiction over the matter. She extended the temporary restraining order to give the rescue an opportunity to file a Superior Court lawsuit.

Pamela’s attorney Fernando Figueroa said its “An absolute prohibition on allowing a cat outdoors, even under close supervision of its owner, is unreasonable.”

Not only has Pamela apologized and promised not to EVER take Muse outside again and to make a $500 donation to the rescue, but she’s also still in danger of losing Muse.

Is there more to this story than what we know so far? Pamela understood Muse was to be kept indoors.

Something feels a bit “off” here. The source article below does go into more detail. The PoC article here is the ‘Cliff Notes’ version hitting on the key points.

Please feel free to sound off in the comments.

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Source article

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5 thoughts on “Rescue contract violation: Outside walk for less than five minutes may cost Salem cat owner her cat”

  1. On a post on their FB page, the rescue has accepted her apology and backed down. The rescue thoroughly explains their policy.

    The adopter had a few people on her side but most of the comments were against her. Most even called her a liar.

    This is a sad situation.

    I’m very careful about posting pictures online.

  2. This is absolutely crazy. Muse wasn’t “let out” in the strict meaning of the terminology, it wasn’t “let out” to run loose, it was “taken out” under supervision, as it was on a leash.

  3. On the info here & the source article, it looks like the rescue are being petty, mean & political. How interesting that a rescue has such excess funds available to fritter on lawyers, how long is their queue for adopters? Maybe the whole fiasco is a personal vendetta against Pamela?

    I would put money on this foolish action being the result of toxic, internal politics at the rescue. Rescues everywhere are notorious for internal power struggles that impact badly on the animals they were set up to help.

    Whatever the truth behind this, the rescue are not doing their ’cause’ any favours, or the cats who won’t be adopted due to potential guardians being put off by this action.

    Odd Cat should know better considering they ‘specialise’ in cats with special needs. Maybe, as sadly as has happened to others in rescue, Kawczynski has lost her mind, or at least a sense of proportion

    I hope Pamela has a good pro bono lawyer & beautiful Muse can stay in his devoted, good home.

    • I purposely didn’t name them because I imagine lots of bad comments are coming in on the Facebook page. There’s a lot more info in the source article but I know people like short and to the point articles.

      • They can also click through and read the source article, whether the people involved are named or not here. People will make vile comments on social media whatever the source/truth of the story or ID of the subjects, alas.

        Michael has posted his views on this curious case, the sanctuary is named.

        I won’t be the only person who thinks that the legal action is ill advised and a misguided use of funds needed to help the rescued cats.


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