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. 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.

  2. Pete,

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

  3. 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. 🙂


  4. @lk, that’s pretty funny, especially considering how so many of the Turley regulars are ripping themselves each a new asshole in this thread,, 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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…..

  8. 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……

  9. 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…..

  10. “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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