MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – A lawsuit filed earlier this month in Tampa accuses an elderly resident of breaking the rules of a condo association by attracting and feeding “stray cats/animals” in and around the common areas of the Tampa Racquet Club Condominium.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that the lawsuit doesn’t specify the number of cats or other animals Joan P. Hussey, 78, is alleged to be feeding.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine Joining In The Fight Against Global Pandemic
“The continued presence of the stray cats may also induce unwanted health issues to those surrounding neighbors and/or tenants and could cause unwarranted damage to the Association’s common elements,” the lawsuit says.
Hussey told the newspaper she only feeds a black-and-white cat she had fixed years ago and calls Cleo.
She said she puts a bowl of dry cat food under her car in its covered parking space, picks up the bowl after Cleo eats.
“I’m terribly surprised'” said Hussey. “I’ve had cats all my life, and I do it respectfully.”
However, the condo association contends that Hussey has continued to feed strays even after numerous requests for her to stop. The lawsuit wasn’t their first legal action against her, the Times reported.READ MORE: South Florida House Republicans Vote Against President Biden's $1.9 Trillion Pandemic Relief Package
Last year, the condo association took its case to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation for arbitration, which is a process required before this kind of condo dispute can go to court, the newspaper reported.
Hussey never responded to the petition for arbitration. She later said she didn’t understand all of the “attorney’s jargon” in papers she received.
An order was issued requiring her to stop feeding cats on the property.
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The association wants a judge to issue an injunction telling her to stop, and has requested reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
Circuit Judge Emily Peacock has been assigned to the case but a hearing date hasn’t been set.
The association’s attorney Stanford Rowe issued a statement saying the board’s position is that Hussey must comply with the arbitrator’s order.
“I go to bed at night, and I can’t sleep, thinking about this thing,” Hussey told the newspaper.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)