Notorious Bellevue cat scores victory in court ahead of civil trial
A notorious Bellevue cat named Miska had her day in court last Friday, to challenge whether the King County Hearing Examiner had the authority to pass judgement on a series of complaints filed against her dating back to 2016. Miska’s owner’s lawyer, Jon Zimmerman, stopped by KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show to shed some light on what exactly that means for the future of her civil case.
A judge ruled Friday that the process used by King County to rule on complaints against Miska “was not enshrined in Bellevue law.”
“All of those cases that have been filed against Miska, the hearing examiner had no authority to even adjudicate them,” Zimmerman said. “The judge ruled that the hearing examiner did not have authority to even hear Bellevue cases, these Bellevue animal enforcement cases, at all, and that’s really significant because he’s been hearing those cases since 2016.”
Many of Miska’s violations predate 2016, although several complaints against the cat have been filed in the time since.
In September of 2014, a “confinement order” was issued against Miska for allegedly harming rabbits, chickens, ducks, and other neighborhood animals. That essentially amounted to house arrest, requiring that her owner keep her in a fenced area secured “with a padlock to prevent accidental release,” or leashed when outside the confines of her property.
Bellevue is also not a “right to roam” city, meaning that owners can be held liable for damage done by their cats outside the confines of their property. Even so, Zimmerman believes that many of the complaints filed against Miska by a neighbor — who also happens to be King County’s regional animal services manager — unfairly targeted her.
“We have an individual who’s the head of animal control, with a lot of authority in the jurisdiction for animals in various cities in King County,” he said. “This is really somebody who has overstepped their bounds.”
“That’s just unfair to really any pet owner in Bellevue to have their specific animal targeted,” he added.
And while Miska herself has actually been missing for “several” months, her owner plans to continue on with her civil case.
“This case is going to keep going forward, and we’re going to keep fighting,” Zimmerman vowed.
Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.