“Infamous” Bellevue cat wins large settlement due to conflict of interest

May 5, 2022, 4:33 PM

The owner of a notorious cat in Bellevue named “Miska” won a $125,000 settlement from Bellevue and King County following a three-year court battle.

Anna Danieli, the owner of Miska, and her attorneys alleged that one of the neighbors who filed complaints against the cat was also the head of King County’s Regional Animal Services, a ‘grave conflict of interest’ and overreach by a government official, attorneys said.

The litigation stemmed from approximately $30,000 in fines and more than 30 violations for the cat’s alleged behavior.

Court battle over notorious Bellevue cat ramps up this Friday

“While this was a unique situation for the City of Bellevue, we are hopeful that our updates to city code — regarding civil offenses involving animals — will help ensure that future scenarios are resolved earlier and more clearly so pet owners and their neighbors can live without disruption,” read the city’s official statement.

Dating back to 2014, Regional Animal Services of King County, contracted by the City of Bellevue, issued violations for claims that Miska trespassed, taunted other pets in the neighborhood, and committed other infractions.

Miska’s neighbor claimed the cat has killed “dozens” of pets over the last seven years, including ducks, chickens, and rabbits. Reports from Animal Control acquired through a public disclosure request stated these allegations dated back to 2012, including reports of her “stalking” a neighborhood dog.

The neighbor claimed rabbits raised by her children had their “ears and tails ripped off through the wire of their hutches” by Miska, with chickens and ducks suffering similar fates over the years.

“Miska is the most prosecuted cat in King County and in the City of Bellevue,” Jon Zimmerman, attorney for Danieli, said in October 2020.

In September of 2014, a “confinement order” was issued against Miska for her alleged crimes. The order was essentially equivalent 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.

But Danieli would not keep Miska “locked up,” going on record stating “she would not confine her cat as it would be ‘unhappy,’” in a 2014 investigative report.

In 2015, Danieli signed surrender forms, but later refused to release Miska to a new family when they arrived at the home.

“This was extremely frustrating to us, as we were ready to get Miska into a home where she was not free roaming,” said Kristine Alessio, the director of Savannah Cat Rescue, in 2015. “Months of correspondence and then determining a great new home came to nothing.”

In response to Miska’s charges including “vicious marauding,” Danieli filed a lawsuit alleging governmental overreach, arguing her neighbor is an animal control manager involved in many of the complaints.

Danieli’s attorneys also believed Miska’s violations should be voided because the City of Bellevue did not properly update its domestic cat code.

Danieli’s two-man legal team sought reimbursement for costs incurred and brought civil rights claims against King County, the City of Bellevue, and other government entities and officials.

In addition to the $125,000 settlement, the lawsuit spurred a court order that resulted in changes to Bellevue’s City Code and the way that civil offenses involving animals are heard.

Notorious Bellevue cat scores victory in court ahead of civil trial

“We are committed to continually improving our policies in partnership with King County,” the city’s official statement continued.

This legal dispute cost the City of Bellevue $25,000, according to Bellevue’s Chief Communications Officer Brad Harwood.

“The government is willing to spend incredible taxpayer resources to engage in this to the point where they’ve actually assigned four prosecutors to this case,” Zimmerman said in 2019.

Local News

Follow @http://twitter.com/Mynorthwest...
MyNorthwest Staff

ORCA overhauls entire system, new era of public transit begins

ORCA's highly-anticipated new website, smartphone app, and real-time value loading for cards launched today for hundred of thousands of transit customers.
21 hours ago
ExperTec Automotive technician Adelmo Rodriguez etches a catalytic converter with the cars license ...
Micki Gamez

Catalytic converter theft runs rampant in Seattle, nation sees dramatic increase

Catalytic converters became a hot commodity during the pandemic due to the high-priced metals, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, within them.
21 hours ago
Olga Syniakova via Verde Music Fund...
Heather Bosch

Songs of support: Artists in Seattle reach out to those who’ve fled war-ravaged Ukraine

Seattle Opera and the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra will hold a benefit concert tonight, Monday May 16th.
21 hours ago
Follow @https://twitter.com/HannaKIROFM...
Hanna Scott

National movement prompts thousands of abortion rights activists to flood the streets of Seattle

A national week of action by abortion rights activists hoping to stop the overturning of Roe v Wade culminated with nationwide mass demonstrations Saturday.
21 hours ago
Generic image of the vehicle in which Matteson was last seen. An image of the victim was not issued...
MyNorthwest Staff

AMBER Alert canceled for 8-year-old girl in child abduction on Aurora Ave.

Seattle Police department has issued an AMBER Alert for Kiya Matteson, last seen on Aurora Ave. N near the Bitter Lake neighborhood.
21 hours ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle announces plan to impound vehicles out of compliance with newly enforced 72-hour parking law

Vehicles that remain in place for more than 72 consecutive hours will now be subject to a tow, courtesy of the City of Seattle.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
“Infamous” Bellevue cat wins large settlement due to conflict of interest