Two city commissioners have entered the fray over the disputed adoption of a cat.
City officials are questioning the Lawrence Humane Society's policies after the disputed adoption a week ago of a cat named Bucky.
Commissioner Bob Moody said the humane society should have returned Bucky, a pedigreed silver Persian, to its distraught owners, Robbin Loomas and her daughter, Donnielle Kern.
The humane society's director allowed the cat's adoption by another family, even though Loomas identified the cat as hers during a visit to the shelter earlier Friday, two days after the shelter took ownership.
"Perhaps there needs to be a clearer definition of the humane society's mission on the city's part, particularly to the tune of $140,000," said Moody, referring to the city's proposed financing next year, still awaiting final commission approval.
Moody and Mayor Jo Andersen will join Loomas and two humane society officials -- Renee Harris, the manager, and Don Watkins, president of the board -- for a meeting Monday evening at city hall. Rod Bremby, assistant city manager, also will attend.
Moody said he would try to get Bucky returned to Loomas -- provided she pay the shelter's costs for care -- but doesn't hold out much hope. He will, however, focus on the humane society's policies -- particularly the one that prohibits revoking already-approved adoptions, even if the previous owner wants the pet back.
"You know what they say about verbal agreements," Moody said. "They're only worth the paper they're written on."
Michael Henderson, treasurer of the humane society's board, said animal control officers had responded to previous complaints about the stray cat, which had wandered across four lanes of traffic to scavenge through a dumpster.
Henderson, in a letter to Bremby, also said that Loomas previously had told staffers she'd "thrown out" the declawed cat for failing to use its litter box.
"Ms. Loomas told our staff that she would again put the animal outside if it was returned to her," Henderson said, in the letter forwarded to commissioners Tuesday.
Moody still isn't convinced. The humane society does great work, he said, but not in this case.
"They shouldn't act as judge and jury," Moody said. "That's the courts. If there's accusations of abuse of animals, they should let the courts be judge and juror."
If allowing a pet to run around outside constitutes abuse, he said, "then we've got problems throughout Lawrence."
For her part, Loomas has hired a lawyer to fight to get her cat back, or at least to get the humane society to change its policies. She denies mistreating the cat.
"At the very least, I'd like to be sure that the people of Lawrence are aware this could happen to their child, and that it should not happen again," Loomas said.
- Should the humane society be able to revoke approved adoptions if the previous owner steps forward? Answer today's access question on page 2B