Miami The caretakers of Ernest Hemingway's Key West home want a federal judge to intervene in their dispute with the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the six-toed cats that roam the property.
More than 50 descendants of a multi-toed cat the novelist received as a gift in 1935 wander the grounds of the home, where Hemingway lived for more than 10 years and wrote "A Farewell to Arms" and "To Have and Have Not."
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum disputes the USDA's claim that it is an "exhibitor" of cats and needs to have a USDA Animal Welfare License, according to a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Miami.
A message left Friday afternoon at the Washington, D.C., office of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was not immediately returned.
The agency has repeatedly denied a license for the Hemingway home under the Animal Welfare Act, which the home contends governs animals in commerce. The USDA has threatened to charge the home $200 per cat per day for violating the act, according to the complaint.