Rita Beach fought her local SPCA’s decision to give her cat to another family, and won. A year after she went missing, Chrissy returned home to her loving family this week.
Chrissy was an indoor cat who slipped out and went missing. A long time family member in the Beach household, which has several other pets, Chrissy disappeared in June of 2011, to her family’s great worry and sorrow.
Someone found and kept Chrissy and, even though she had a microchip, her identity was not confirmed until this past January. The Chester County PA SPCA, the shelter where the Beaches adopted Chrissy, let the family who found her keep Chrissy, even though her microchip proved that she belonged with Rita Beach and her family.
Rita was contacted in January and was initially given the impression that she would get her cat back. The SPCA later told her that she and her family were irresponsible pet owners – a charge Rita disputes – and they had allowed the other family to keep Chrissy. The shelter’s adoption agreement stipulates that cats are to be indoor pets.
We posted Rita and Chrissy’s story Chrissy’s Family Wants Justice and Wants Her Back Home on March 3. That story includes Rita’s guest post Chester County SPCA Stole My Cat, where she tells her story. We followed up on March 8 with Petition Seeks Beloved Cat Chrissy’s Return To Her Family, then periodically checked in with Rita’s group Chester County SPCA stole my cat.
Despite the SPCA’s refusal to return her cat to her, Rita persisted in her efforts to get Chrissy back, finally obtaining legal representation and vowing to pursue the matter to the fullest. Rita’s attorney filed suit to get Chrissy back from the SPCA. In late May the attorney reported to Rita that the SPCA hoped the suit would be dropped if Rita were to receive a phone call from the woman who had Chrissy, reassuring her that her cat was doing well. Rita told him that the same offer had been made in April, and she had refused it once and would refuse it again.
A civil court hearing was scheduled for June 7. If Rita were to win her case the SPCA would likely have been given a fine, but the win would not require them to return Chrissy to her family. Rita also signed papers for Common Pleas Court to file a Replevin Action. By doing so, she would sue to get her “stolen or lost property” back. The woman who had Chrissy reportedly did not want her name revealed and, with the Replevin Action, she would be included and her name would be made known.
When the SPCA’s lawyers learned of the plans, they reportedly advised the organization to concede, telling them the Beaches would win. By June 6, the day before the civil court date, Rita was informed that she would get Chrissy back. Rita is not able to sue to recover her legal costs, but she says she is just happy to be getting her beloved girl back. She signed papers on June 11, and on June 12 she had her beloved cat back after an entire year.
Rita is absolutely thrilled that her persistence brought Chrissy home, and is enjoying each day as Chrissy gets to know everyone again, gets back in synch with the other cats, and settles back in to her home.
Rita did not take no for an answer, and she has secured the happiest of outcomes for her family.