Tuesday 2 February 2021

78-year-old woman persecuted by condominium administrators for feeding a cat or cats in common areas

NEWS AND VIEWS - THIS IS AN OPINION PIECE: This is a classic case of an elderly lady who is tenderhearted and decent and as a consequence she is feeding a cat or cats at a condominium: Tampa Racquet Club Condominium in Florida. Her name is Joan P Hussey. She's been in dispute with the administrators of this condominium before over this issue.

This image is for illustration purposed only. This is not Joan. Picture: Pixabay.

Hussey claimed that she only feeds a black-and-white cat that she ensured had been sterilised years ago. This cat's name is Cleo. The condominium say that she is feeding cats in the plural against their rules in and around the common parts of this condominium as reported by Tampa Bay Times.

They argue that she is attracting other animals and creating an wanted health issue for the neighbours and tenants, blah blah blah. It's the usual stuff if you are familiar with this sort of litigation and argument. It's usually the big, classy condominiums with expensive apartments who end up pushing around old ladies when they feed a couple of cats on the manicured grounds. And it's usually one or two leaseholders who complain about a little old lady who can't help herself feeding stray cat or cats. She's too nice to see cats starving.

Hussey says that she puts down a bowl of dry food under her car in its covered parking space. After her cat, Cleo, has eaten she picks up the food. She does this to avoid being accused of attracting other wild animals. She appears to be monitoring the feeding carefully and sensibly. She said that she is very surprised to be sued and that she looks after the cat respectfully.

The condominium administration say that she's been asked to stop several times and doesn't comply. The matter went to arbitration as it has to under the law but Hussey didn't attend the arbitration process because she was confused by all the jargon and papers. 

However, an order was made against her in her absence which required her to stop feeding the cats. She had, inadvertently, dug a bit of a hole for herself. Although she could probably get that hearing reheard and appoint a lawyer to attend a fresh one.

In the interests of justice a fair hearing needs to take place and it didn't for whatever reason. Now she's being sued in the courts and the condominium administrators want the court to issue an injunction against her. This would be an order to stop her feeding the cat or cats. It is not clear to me from the story whether the condominium are telling the truth about the number of cats or whether Hussey is.

The condominium are also asking her to pay their reasonable lawyer's costs and fees. The hearing is yet to be set and in the meantime the condominium administrators, through their lawyer, are saying that Hussey must comply with the arbitration order.

Hussey feels persecuted and concerned. She said: "I go to bed at night and I can't sleep, thinking about this thing."

It's the big machine against the little person. It's keeping a fancy residential complex tidy against what some consider to be unsightly community cats or a sole community cat wandering around. It offends the eye of some leaseholders. They want everything picture perfect. They don't see the need to be tender and decent towards what appears to be an abandoned animal which needs the help of somebody. That somebody is an old lady of 78 and she is paying the price for her kind heart and her tender actions.

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