California Court Reinstates Suit over Cat’s Shooting

June 3, 2011

A state appeals court has ruled that a Contra Costa County man can recover medical expenses from whoever shot his cat with a pellet gun and seek punitive damages if the person did it deliberately.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco overturned a lower court ruling on Tuesday. The lower court said the damages sought by Kevin Kimes of Brentwood could only cover the cat’s market value because cats are property.

But in its 3-0 ruling, the appeals court said different rules apply to property such as Kimes’s tabby, Pumkin, that have special value to their owners.

The ruling reinstated a lawsuit Kimes filed against his neighbors, whom he accuses of shooting Pumkin in 2005. The cat survived but required thousands of dollars in medical care.

Kimes’s neighbors deny the allegation.

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