Neighbors Settle 16-month Cat Custody Battle

(AP) A 16-month cat fight in an Oregon court has come to an end. A pair of Portland neighbors resorted to attorneys to sort out their dispute over a 4-year-old Siamese cat named Merlin. Donella and Charles Whitacre had claimed their neighbors, RoseMarie Opp and Lawrence Hudetz, "kidnapped" Merlin.

But Opp and Hudetz said they kept the cat because they believed he had been neglected.

Donnella Whitacre posted fliers around their neighborhood, calling Opp and Hudetz cat thieves. She reported the cat stolen, sending a police officer to retrieve it.

Opp and Hudetz countered by slapping a lien on the cat as personal property, eventually foreclosing during an auction on the front steps of the Multnomah County Courthouse.

Police concluded that it was a civil matter, so it ended up in court with attorneys on both sides.

But with a trial pending this week, the lawyers reached a settlement that sent Merlin back to the Whitacres.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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