Q: My ex-girlfriend stole my cat. Can I get my cat back?
My ex-girlfriend showed up to my apartment uninvited requesting to retrieve the remainder of her items. I allowed her in and she ended up staying a while. I had fallen asleep and when I woke up, my ex and my cat were both gone. I had adopted the cat after we broke up and have documentation that I own the cat. However, the problem lies in that she was uninvited and has been unresponsive to myself and others requesting the return of the cat, so I don’t have a paper trail that she actually took the cat or was even at the apartment. I alerted the police who only called her to ask about the cat to which she lied and said she didn’t have her. I also alerted the adoption shelter and local vets to be on the lookout. Can I still file for replevin to have my cat returned to me?
Yes you can still sue her for replevin. I’d also add claims for civil theft (possibility of being awarded attorney fees and triple damages), and also a claim for conversion which has a different mental state requirement than civil theft. The key is getting a show cause hearing set.
The best way to do this would be to carefully draft your sworn complaint to include specific details of the way she took the cat and lied to police and that you would like the court to enter a PRE-HEARING order of possession because the cat is living property and you fear it could disappear between the time you file the case and actually get into court on a show cause hearing.
I’ve been able to successfully do this for a couple clients and so the first notice the opposing party had of the lawsuit was when the sheriff, locksmith and my clients arrived at the residences with a court order to seize the pet(s). Then we either settled or had a hearing after the fact.
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