TAMPA, Fla. – A Florida condominium association is suing a 78-year-old woman for feeding a stray cat.
A lawsuit filed in Tampa earlier this month accuses Joan P. Hussey of breaking the rules by attracting and feeding “stray cats / animals” in and around the public areas of the Tampa Racquet Club Condominium, the reported Tampa Bay Times.
The lawsuit does not specify how many cats or other animals Hussey is alleged to be feeding.
“The continued presence of the stray cats can also lead to undesirable health problems for the surrounding neighbors and / or renters and unjustifiably damage the common elements of the association,” the lawsuit said.
Hussey told the newspaper that she was just feeding a black and white cat that she fixed years ago and called Cleo.
She said she’ll put a bowl of dry cat food under her car in the covered parking lot and pick up the bowl after Cleo eats.
“I’m terribly surprised,” said Hussey. “I’ve had cats all my life and I do it respectfully.”
However, the condominium association claims that Hussey continues to feed strays even after numerous requests to stop them. The lawsuit was not their first legal action against them, the Times reported.
Last year, the Condo Association submitted its case to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation for arbitration. This is a process that is required before this type of condo dispute can be brought to court, the newspaper reported.
Hussey never responded to the request for arbitration. She later said she did not understand all of the attorney’s jargon in the papers she received.
An order was issued that she no longer has to feed cats on the property.
The club wants a judge to issue an injunction asking them to stop and has demanded reasonable attorney fees and expenses.
Judge Emily Peacock was put on the case, but no date has been set for the hearing.
The association’s attorney, Stanford Rowe, issued a statement saying that Hussey must comply with the arbitrator’s order.
“I go to bed at night and I can’t sleep thinking about this thing,” Hussey told the newspaper.
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