I’ll keep this very short and to the point because I like it like that. This is another report of what I would describe as a microchip screwup. Microchips are not completely guaranteed to be able to reunite a cat owner with their cat. I wrote recently about that. This is a follow-up story concerning the RSPCA.
A French lady had microchipped her cat in France. She moved to the UK with her cat and lost her cat in the UK. The cat was found but both the RSPCA and Cats Protection say that they could not find contact and ownership details on the cat’s microchip. This must have been because the cat was microchipped in France.
The owner of the lost cat says that they could have checked the website, Europetnet.com, from which they would have been able to tell that her cat was registered in France. The RSPCA and Cats Protection have not responded to that suggestion it seems to me. I have checked that website and it appears that she is correct. They suggest that you can find your cat even when lost abroad through their website and that they have a very large database.
Subsequently, the lady’s cat was adopted by somebody else having been advertised on the Cats Protection website.
The new owners won’t give the cat back because they have become attached to him even though they have only known him for a few weeks whereas the original owner cared for her cat for four years.
So, once again, we have a situation where microchipping has not assisted in reuniting owner with cat due to a mixup, partly because the microchip database system is fragmented. Ideally, I would have thought that there should be one large global database to accommodate international travellers but no doubt that is a dream which will never become a reality.
The lady in question should sue the people who refused to return her cat in the Small Claims Court under the tort of conversion. This is a common law action. She could also sue Cats Protection who’d be forced, hopefully, to disclose the whereabouts of the cat in court proceedings.
Cats Protection don’t have the power and neither do the RSPCA to force the “new owners” to return the cat to the legal owner. Therefore the lady will have to take legal action which in my opinion has a very high prospect of succeeding provided she can get the name and address of the people who are illegally possessing her cat.
In the past, in the previous case, the rescue centre were unable, they say, to divulge the “new owner’s” contact details because of the Data Protection Act (UK law). I would hope that that barrier can be overcome. I would hope that there would be a way to circumvent the provisions of the Data Protection Act in this instance in court proceedings under a court order or interim judgement. Alternatively, in the UK, perhaps a complaint can be filed at the Information Commissioner’s Office to obtain a direction that the withholding of the address is an abuse of the Data Protection Act under these circumstances.
The cat’s name is Booba. The legal owner’s name is Ms Coucoulis. The full story can be seen here.