Saturday, August 15, 2009

Owner wants cats returned

By Jenn Marshall

Nearly 100 cats seized in Cedar last week likely won’t be returned to the owner.

The animals were taken Aug. 10 after a bailiff hired by the property owner to evict the tenant called the SPCA. The cats were living in poor conditions and some needed medical attention.

Leon Davis, manager of the Nanaimo and District SPCA, said the animals were seized legally because SPCA officials were invited in by the homeowner and the cats were considered abandoned because the tenant had nowhere to take them.

But the shelter must follow strict legal guidelines before allowing the cats to be adopted.

Owners have four days after seizure to ask that their animals be returned to them and then two weeks to submit reasons why the animals should be returned and what provisions will be made for them.

“She has stated that she would like to have them back and so we will wait and see what she comes up [by Aug. 24],” said Davis. “There’s no evidence this owner has anywhere she can take the cats. It’s just not going to happen, in my opinion.”..." More

August 15, 2009: Landlord of cat infested home stuck with $50,000 bill

NANAIMO, B.C. — A cat-hoarding tenant left her Vancouver Island landlord with a $50,000 mess.

Nanaimo businesswoman Irene Wenngatz owns the home where SPCA officials rescued 94 cats and kittens from deplorable conditions on Monday. The SPCA was contacted by bailiffs who were in the process of evicting Wenngatz's tenant.

SPCA investigators said the home in Cedar, which is a Nanaimo suburb, was overrun with cats, the floors were thick with animal waste and dead cats and kittens were being kept in a freezer. Although 94 cats were taken from the home, a number of animals were left behind.

Wenngatz had been trying for months to remove the tenant, who stopped paying her rent eight months ago, she said. The homeowner said she was caught up in a nightmarish delay with tenancy arbitrators that may have allowed her former tenant to acquire more cats.

Wenngatz purchased the property two years ago.

The former Alberta resident said she can't believe the bureaucratic haggling she had to endure with the arbitrators, especially since she said she was deceived by her former tenant from the beginning of their relationship.

"She told me she had no pets," Wenngatz said.

She later learned that her former tenant had given another area landlord the same grief.

A couple of months after renting the woman the home, the woman stopped paying her rent. Wenngatz estimates the tenant owes her about $18,000 in unpaid rent.

Once she started the arbitration process, Wenngatz went to the home and was shocked by what she saw.

"There were cats everywhere. She had tore out the carpets and kicked holes in the wall just for them," she said.

She took pictures so that she could show the arbitrator. Still, the process dragged on and on.

"This should have only taken a couple of weeks but eight months, that's ridiculous. There are times I can't believe how different things are here than they are in Alberta," said Wenngatz. "God only knows how much damage was done during the negotiations with the arbitrator and before he made his ruling and when I first started proceedings to get an order of possession. I couldn't stand being in there when I was taking the pictures. The place stank."

The arbitrator finally ruled in Wenngatz's favour in late June and her tenant was given two days to get out..." More