Habeas Cat Corpus

Money for Nothing and Your Cat is Free

A Bellevue, WA woman is $125,000 richer thanks to her cat who was accused of trespassing in a city neighborhood.

Who ever heard of such a thing?

Anna Danieli’s feline felon, Miska was the target of 30 complaints according to Danieli’s attorney, Jon Zimmerman. That’s 30 out of 20,000 animal infractions over the past 10 years of which a total of 50 were against cats.

Way to represent Miska!

Miska, chilling outdoors. Courtesy Miska the Cat/Facebook.

The neighbor claimed the terrible tabby is vicious and went after someone else’s rabbits in another neighbor’s backyard.

“If it wanted to get a bunny, it would get a bunny,” Kathleen Rollock, another neighbor told FOX13.

“It just seems very friendly. It’s friendly with my dog. It’s friendly with people,” Rollock added.

So, who is the mystery neighbor? None other than Gene Edward Mueller who just happens to be the manager of the Regional Animal Services of King County and could enforce animal control violations. He also lives two blocks from Danieli and Miska. To top things off, Mueller was also an investigating officer on two matters involving the tormented tabby.

Mueller was one of several individuals and government organizations who Danieli sued, but he was clearly the main target of the legal action.

The 30 complaints cost Danieli over $30,000 in fines from 2014 to 2019 according to her complaint.

The future of our court system, cat justice. Courtesy: Adult Swim.

But as weird and ludicrous as this sounds, it was deadly serious. Mueller tried to have Miska euthanized in 2014 and if that didn’t happen, to at least deport the all-American cat.

The mortal threats to Miska didn’t end there. The lawsuit (Danieli v. King County, et al.) claimed neighbors tried to shoot the cat. At whose direction? We can take a wild guess who that was.

During this saga, Miska was taken away from Danieli but later released into her custody.

During her arrest and subsequent incarceration, there are no court records to indicate if Miska was read her Miranda rights, allowed to call an attorney, paw printed, had her puss photographed for a mug shot or given a full body furmination search. The county does provide interpreters for more than 160 human languages, but not for a cat; a major flaw in the county’s criminal justice system putting Miska at a distinct disadvantage to understand the charges against her.

Miska in lockup. Courtesy King County Animal Control.

A search by The Chester Chronicles could find no previous criminal record for Miska before this tomfoolery.

We won’t bore you with all the legal stuff, but in the end, justice prevailed to the tune of a $125,000 settlement. A round of kibble, on Miska!

And shouldn’t Bob Dylan be writing a ballad about this?

“In a city that is a right-to-roam restricted city, then pet owners getting licenses for their cats should have the knowledge, and be told, cats are not allowed to roam the city,” Zimmerman told FOX13.

Of course, that’s like telling a fisherman not to fish or a bear not to eat honey. It’s not natural.

Miska styling in some swanky threads, thanks to a $125,000 court victory. Courtesy: Miska the Cat/Facebook.

“Hey cat, make sure you just stay in our yard.” “Sure,” says the cat, trying not to burst out laughing while hopping the fence.

Our cat Chester didn’t know what to make of this story. On the one hand he was happy that Miska and Danieli won their case. On the other hand, he couldn’t figure out why anyone would complain about a cat being a cat.

“You humans scare me,” Chester said somberly. “This is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard of. You’re telling me Miska was harassed for doing what any red-blooded cat would do?”

A Supreme Court that will administer justice without respect to persons or cats, and do equal right to the furry and non-furry.

“At least this isn’t getting bounced up to the Supreme Court,” I said. “Can you imagine what a circus that would be? Pro-cat and anti-cat protestors yelling at each other. The National Guard called in; fences erected around the Court. Threats against the Justices. Not too many things bring out that type of passion.”

“Agreed,” said Chester. “Maybe when those Supreme Court wannbes are getting grilled during their confirmation hearings, the senators might want to press them on cat rights. Stuff like Akron ex rel. Christman-Resch v. Akron, or Alvarez v. Clasen. This two-party system you humans have isn’t working. I say you need a new amendment to the Constitution declaring equal rights for cats!”

“Or better, court hearings like the one last year in Texas,” I said.

“Maybe, instead of people running these courts, the judges should be cats,” Chester said. “Then humans can get a taste of what it’s like to be abused by a biased justice system.”

I was starting to hear the music from Les Misérables playing in my head while Chester was pontificating on American jurisprudence. Our family pet raising the dander of clowders of cats across the nation to march on Washington demanding equal justice for felines from sea to shining sea.

Walt Disney envisioned a day when cats were judge and jury, something that would have made humans less likely to prosecute felines. Courtesy: The Walt Disney Company.

There at the nation’s capital before the multitudes, Chester would give his greatest oratory on the National Mall.

“Men, women, toms and queens, lend me your furry ears. I see a day when Black people, white people, tabbies and Persians, will all join hands and paws while singing the words from that great Disney classic, The Aristocats, “Everybody Wants to be a Cat”. To purr or not to purr, is that really a question? Of course, you want to purr, every creature wants to purr. So, we must all go to the mountain-top and yell our loudest meows for justice, equality and two bowls of kibble served for every meal.”

Powerful stuff if you ask me, though it sounds like Chester borrowed a few ideas to put that together.

Let’s be honest here, for you, cat rights may not compare to Dred Scott v. Sandford or Johnny Depp II v. Amber Laura Heard, but at some point, you have to take a stand. Cats need legal protection. Cat injustice will lead to dog injustice which leads to primate injustice and finally human injustice. Strike that, we already have all those injustices. Anyway, you get the point.

The scales of justice are tilted against cats. Take action; write to your representatives, sell cat scout cookies, hit the streets and protest for cat suffrage, demand cats be appointed to judgeships, support cat influencers on social media or just lick yourself in sympathy with your feline friends (bonus points if you can get to your privates).

Citizens taking action in support of cats. Courtesy: Justice for our CATZ/Facebook.

To get change sometimes you need a revolution. As Karl Marx may have said, “Cats of the World, Unite. You have nothing to lose but your dirty litter boxes!”

Music please.

Do you hear the kitties sing?
Singing a song of angry cats?
It is the music of a clowder
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the mice
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Lyrics from Do You Hear the Cats Sing?

Makes you want to storm the Bastille or Petco.

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