Boots Walks: Illinois Court Spares Cat After Deceased Owner Ordered Cat Killed As Part Of Will

In Illinois, Boots has walked from a bizarre death sentence. Boots was the pet of Georgia Lee Dvorak of Berwyn, Illinois. When Dvorak died, she specified in her will that 11-year-old Boots should be put to death. However, the executor of her $1.3 million will — the Fifth Third Bank — could not get themselves to euthanize the friendly cat. So they went to court and got the language set aside in a rare judicial intervention.

Dvorak was actually a huge animal lover and left most of her money to animal charities. She rescued Boots from an abusive home and was fearful that the cat would be abused again. Rather than risk it, she wanted Boots euthanized. It was a curious order since, with a large estate, it would have been easy to specify an alternative arrangement.Bank senior president Jeffrey Schmidt said that the bank had found a loving home and didn’t want to euthanize this healthy, living animal.” Bank officials also donated cat supplies and food to Boots’ new home, a cage-free sanctuary in Andersonville.

I am trying to find the order or motion in the case. It raises an interesting question of the limits of a person in specifying conditions in a will. It is not clear from reports if the court found that provision unconscionable or whether the court found that the testator’s intent was better served by the home established for Boots. While animals are property, they have more protections than a sofa. It is not clear that a testator can order the killing of a healthy pet like some Viking King surrounded by horses and dogs. While Dvorak had the best motivations, it is unclear if such an order can be enforced. We have many Chicago readers so if anyone has more information on how the Cat got out of the bag, let us know.

Source: CBS

34 thoughts on “Boots Walks: Illinois Court Spares Cat After Deceased Owner Ordered Cat Killed As Part Of Will

  1. One life down, eight to go. I always wondered how the Fifth got in front of the Third in that bank. I think it was the Third Bank located on Fifth Avenue but I could be mistaken.

  2. And as a Civil War afficionado I dont think that Andersonville is an appropriate place to place a cat with the intent that it be fed.

  3. Talking Dog…… That was funny…. Andersonville a very safe and sterile place for the rebellious individuals…..

    I just wonder how much the bank charged the estate……

  4. When my mom was born she was very ill and doctors told my grandparents she wouldn’t live a year. One of her great aunts had terminal cancer at the time and didn’t have long to live. The story is she went to my grandfather and told them that when she died he should smother his new baby so that she could be buried in the coffin with the aunt. That way she would not go into the after-life alone. Since mom died a couple of years ago at 86 I guess grandpa didn’t take her up on the offer which I am sure she tought of as a kindness.

    People have odd fears about death.

  5. curious,is it not-some say that 70% of bank foreclosures are illegal
    -millions of lives destroyed…ah, but the life of one splendid moggy…

  6. Well, good for boots! As “dar” mentioned perhaps this could be expanded to include the Americans who have been or will be subjected to foreclosures by the criminal banking system.

  7. Jeffrey Schmidt said that the bank had found a loving home and didn’t want to euthanize this healthy, living animal.” Bank officials also donated cat supplies and food to Boots’ new home, a cage-free sanctuary in Andersonville.
    —————————
    I mirror dars’ observation….also, having seen some ‘sanctuaries’ I don’t
    know that they didn’t simply make her fears come true…..I’d be more impressed if they found a real live actual loving home…

  8. When my friend died friends tried to find a loving home for her cats. They
    could not fit in with the few they tried and the animals ended up being euthanized, one barely out of kittenhood.
    Hopefully the bank checked out the place but sometimes that is the only option (and I would think a bank officer is not going to be spending a lot of time with checking to see if the first home he might have found worked out, and if not the second and so on.)
    This was a pretty good outcome, given the circumstances seems the options were limited, and even less so until the bank objected.
    (And I agree with dars but it is apples and oranges, this is a nice story and outcome as stories and outcomes go.

  9. This was a pretty good outcome, given the circumstances seems the options were limited, and even less so until the bank objected.

    ——————————
    I worked onsite of a shelter….there were piles of animal corpes akin to the bodies in concentration camps on a daily basis. The animals would watch as thier cage mates were taken and ‘euthanized’ and thern tossed to the pile till they could be cremated later in the day. Ash fell in the evening but the acrid smell was always present. It is a high stress environment for any animal but a pampered 11 year old cat will be challenged in a situation such as this.
    I would agree with the ‘feel good happy ending’ of this story ….where a womans will was broken after her wishes made known legally (was $$$$$ also involved?) if a bank officer actually stepped up and took this animal home and assurred the out come was not superficial and precedential…or better yet, let him live at the office ….where there is lots of company and affection …

  10. I know there are terrible ‘shelters’. It sounds as though you are [presupposinjg this is the case. Here we have, as an example Kitty Cottage where the cats are treated very, very well.

    I would agree with the ‘feel good happy ending’ of this story ….where a womans will was broken after her wishes made known legally (was $$$$$ also involved?)
    That makes it sound as though you think the will should not have been broken and the animal euthanized. It is an either or, either they kill the cat or they find a place for it.

    if a bank officer actually stepped up and took this animal home and assurred the out come was not superficial and precedential…or better yet, let him live at the office ….where there is lots of company and affection …

    Some people hate animals, especially cats, some are allergic, etc. Taking it home may have presented legal problems, did the bank/bank officer have a conflict of interest – it might certainly cause people to think he was looking for dollars.

  11. I question that this 11 year old cat was truly the source of such ‘compassion’ from either bankers or a court. Given the number of ‘euthanasias’ done every day, given the manner in which human beings are treated by these people….this story gets fishier and fishier.

    Would this response be elicited if the cat did not come from an estate valued at over a million dollars? I think not. This cat was a clever piece of fur to hang a show on….and while all this show was going on….my bet is the billing was going on as well. From ALL these so very very very compassionate people….

  12. Turley’s Law:

    P(Turley Commenters will approach oo derpness) is f(length of thread) and in general a monotonically increasing number.

    Therefore Turley’s Law is actually isomorphic to Godwin’s Law.

  13. sorry anon….wish it were so……fact is nothing I related is in simple comparison to Hitlers misdeeds. It, sadly, is factually and tangibly experienced when I volunteered at a wildlife rehab, on site at a local shelter. Tho we did make the conscious connection to the similarities….it was impossible not to…

    what is derpness?

  14. I agree with Woosty’s take. I’ll bet money, humaneness influenced the bank’s decision and I’ve had cats since 1966.

  15. My dad was a banker in a small town.He was well liked and respected by many a townsfolk and especially widows. With the exception of the kindergarten teacher, my dad daily received more hugs and kisses on the cheek than any other person in town. We took in several “orphaned” pets over the years He got out of banking when it got too hard to be kind.

  16. I agree with Prof. Turley. I would like to see the order. The deceased’s view was apparently, if I go, the cat’s going with me. But I’m not at all certain that that instruction would be illegal or contrary to public policy in the case of a pet. Before everyone jumps on me, I like cats and am happy that this one survived. But I’m curious about the legal basis for the ruling.

    In the meantime, my wife has reiterated that if I go, she plans to stick around and is confident that she can deal with the heartache.

  17. Pete,

    I am still wondering how much the bank charged the estate to go outside of the trust…..

  18. Wootsy+^..^, Derp is measured on a sliding, contextual scale that means anything from naive silliness to painful stupidity.

    Thus, Anon’s Law:

    P (Vagina-boy aka Anon will post insulting/bigoted comments) is F (length of thread/sex of poster/mention of women) and in general, predictably attempts to hijack/disrupt a thread with insult or other juvenilia.

    Therefore, Anon’s Law aspires to be isomorphic to Godwin’s Law but fails. Because no one gives a crap about his postings except to point and laugh. :-)

    Re-cloaking

  19. @lk, that’s pretty funny, especially considering how so many of the Turley regulars are ripping themselves each a new asshole in this thread, http://jonathanturley.org/2012/04/12/note-to-bloggers-the-turley-blog-death-star-to-be-shelved/#comment-357638, which started off as a humorous Star Wars thread.

    Is that Turley thread from last June still going strong with all the Turley regulars calling each other assholes? Or did someone finally put a slug in it?

  20. anon,

    Argument by non-sequitur.

    You earning the distinction of many if not most of us – but certainly the ladies – not taking your posts seriously and disagreements between others that in no way involve you are completely unrelated subjects. It has been my experience that the regulars of this blog treat others as others treat them – an equitable action so useful in practice you’d think somebody might have made a rule about it somewhere at some time.

    What LK said was really quite funny and, given the general level of misogyny you have displayed over time, perfectly understandable. Besides, one would think you of all people would be used to a woman pointing at you and laughing. I offer that not by way of excuse for your misogyny past but by way of explanation.

  21. I’m a liberal but not a bleeding heart, which is what I see in most of the sentiments above. A pet is not a person, and the presumption should be that the owner’s testamentary wishes ordinarily will be followed. Euthanizing a pet is not cruel in itself, and is certainly not against public policy. Veterinarians do it every day.

    Sure, it’s heartwarming to hear that this cat gets to live its pampered life a bit longer. Until you consider that the animal shelters are overflowing with more cats than anyone wants to adopt. This cat survived, which means that some other cat didn’t get adopted and was euthanized. And to achieve this result court time got wasted.

    I can understand a court not wanting to compel an unwilling executor to have an animal killed. Perhaps tha twas the real rationale of this decision; to spare the executor from trauma. There’s a lesson here for any pet owner who wants to direct the putting down of a pet: make sure to appoint an executor who’ll carry out your wish.

  22. If you look at it from the banks perspective its a win, win….. They are paid to administer the trust….. They fought a trust provision and won…. Trust lawyers are paid well….. They now have the ability to petition the court to be paid out of the trust they administer…. Looks like double dipping to me……. Now, if they donated the time I will think differently….. But not usually gonna happen with 5/3 bank…..

  23. I would like to see evidence of that cats now ‘pampered life’…

    That cat is a canary in the mineshaft….it is indicative of the state of the courts and the manner in which they operate and who they serve.

    apparently, the ‘Sith’ rule…. (cont. on ‘Death Star’ channel……

  24. Anonymously Yours1, April 14, 2012 at 7:29 am
    —————————-
    AY, that’s what I’m talkin about….too greedy, too deep…..mostly though, the courts are no longer to be trusted? Fallen…..

  25. “If you look at it from the banks perspective its a win, win…..” AY
    ——————————————-
    words like ‘win’ and ‘lose’ belong in competitions….and totally improper regarding trusts and other issues of that ilk decided by the courts. This was a bad move and that Cat could have been ‘saved’ without making this particular bad move. The cat was probably not the locus of compassion and may well suffer because of it.

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