Clovis, CA asked in Criminal Law and Animal / Dog Law for California

Q: Is it against the law in CA for a neighbor to take our cat days at a time?

these crazy neighbors have been holding our cat hostage inside for days at a time. They have been positive for corona virus and I'm 7 months pregnant. I tried calling police but they said a cat isn't considered property. Its causing me a lot of stress. I though pets were property, isnt this thef?

3 Lawyer Answers
Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Denver, CO

A: The police are clearly just being lazy in this situation. You can call the chief and file a complaint against the officers. The squeaky wheel gets oiled the most!

To answer your question, yes, animals (cats and dogs and cows, pigs, birds, all animals, etc.) are considered property. So, the police officer should, at the very least, go and threaten the neighbor with charges in order to scare them into releasing the cat back to you because, yes, this would be considered petty theft.

Sometimes the police won't get involved because they say it's a "civil" matter, meaning you have to take the neighbor to court and sue him/her to get your cat back. I would say keep calling the police and make a lot of noise about it because it sounds like it is straight up theft and the police should at least threaten your neighbor with charges.

Maurice Mandel II agrees with this answer

2 users found this answer helpful

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: more info needed.

however, a cat would be property.

i would go up the ranks to the police chief and if necessary to your city councilperson or congressman.

you can always sue in small claims court.

Maurice Mandel II agrees with this answer

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
Answered
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Your cat is property the same as your car. Ask the police if the neighbors took your car if they would send someone to recover it? You are definitely looking at some lazy officers there. Before going to the police, you need to go beyond the dispatcher, ask for their name or id number first then ask to speak to the "ranking duty officer" to put your complaint to him first, get the name and Id number of everyone you speak with. Police usually have ranks like the military, so you can ask for a sergeant, Lieutenant, or Captain before you get to the Chief. If you have to go to the Chief you will probably be taken more seriously if you go there in person, make an appointment. Involve your city councilperson and the Mayor. Figure out if either of them are cat lovers 'Cause if you get a lot of dog or Coyote lovers, you won't get far. Good luck with the baby. Oh, I have a cat also, it is much better if you do not let them roam to the neighbors. Coyotes are a deadly problem for cats.

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