Recently, we have seen cases where people have fought to overcome confidentiality of reporters and Internet companies. Now, there is a raising the limits of animal shelter confidentiality. Darlene Feger is continuing a seven year struggle to force the Warwick Valley Humane Society of New York to reveal who adopted a cat that she believes was Kisses, her missing white Persian. She believes that lawyers from a local law firm many be the culprits but the shelter insists that all animal adoptions are confidential just as human adoptions are confidential — and the courts agree.
Two lower courts have ruled against Feger but her lawyer is now proceeding to the state Court of Appeals.
Kisses disappeared from Feger home in New Jersey in August 2002. She claims that she saw Kisses picture on the webstie of Warwick Valley Humane Society and called immediately. However, the shelter said that the cat (which was re-named Lucky) had been adopted.
In addition to the information, she is asking for $86,000 because the shelter did not wait for the mandatory waiting period before giving away the cat and spayed the cat — which she intended to breed.
The refusal to reveal the owners raises an interesting dilemma. Assuming that the shelter did violate the waiting period, the only way to determine the loss of property would be a simple examination. Confidentiality here protects the shelter from liability. It is not clear why there is such confidentiality. It is not like a human adoption where a mother or child would be traumatized by the either the disclosure or knowledge of the adoption. I expect Kisses would be just fine. The problem is how to determine that Lucky is Kisses after seven years absent an implanted chip (which are now more common) or some other clear identifying feature.
The shelter argued that “People who donate animals should not be subjected to potential suits because someone coming late to the table claims the animal is theirs. Humane societies are given immunity under the law for a reason. They do good work for the public at large.”
I personally investigated, however, and spotted a picture of what may be Kisses on the lap of the man to the right.
His name appears to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his history would appear consistent with the theft of Kisses. He is known for elaborate criminal schemes and slight of hand. It is even possible that the Warwick Valley Humane Society is a front for S.P.E.C.T.R.E. However, there is a possibility of negotiation between Feger and Blofeld. Blofeld stated aboard his yacht once, “Bond is still alive and the Lektor is not yet in our possession. I’ve negotiated with the Russians for its return; we’ve agreed on a price. And S.P.E.C.T.R.E. ALWAYS delivers what it promises. Our entire organization survives upon the keeping of those promises…”
Good luck, Number One, but look out of doubles.
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