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does this count as kidnapping?

Kathryn GrahamKathryn Graham Norfolk,Member Posts: 123
edited 21 July, 2009 in Laws & Legislation
My husband and I had 4 cats between us. He moved out in November but left all of the cats with me. We have talked a few times and I have asked if he wanted the 2 cats he had before we got married (i asked this around Christmas time) I never heard back from him about those 2 cats. And, they are great cats, I love them, they are welcome to stay with me (esp if their "Dad" hasn't wanted any contact with them for 7 months) Tonight I came home and those 2 cats were gone. I had an e-mail saying my soon to be ex-husband had taken them back. So, lets put aside the fact that I have asked him not to come into the house without asking, IS HE ALLOWED TO JUST TAKE 2 CATS HE HASN'T SEEN FOR 7 MONTHS?


  • Darlene WagnerDarlene Wagner MilwaukeeMember Posts: 1,075
    edited 5 July, 2009
    I would say if they are "his" (the ones you said he could have) then no, but you may want to get the locks changed on the door. Maybe it just took him awhile to get ready for them?
  • Faye DufourFaye Dufour Destrehan, LA/New Orleans areaMember Posts: 4,648
    edited 5 July, 2009
    We agree with Cleo, but he should have at least called and let you know he was coming. And, certainly you should have the locks changed if he seems to feel he can come in at any time.
  • Chrysee HinshawChrysee Hinshaw Member Posts: 474
    edited 5 July, 2009
    Change the locks. But no, this is not kidnapping. Cats are not people. And since you've acknowledged these are his cats, there is most likely no legal action you can take besides perhaps trespassing but if he still has keys it's not like he broke in. But change the locks.
  • Amber SimmonAmber Simmon Member Posts: 2,703
    edited 5 July, 2009
    stealing and tresspassing. The cats have been in your possesion for 7 months. At the very least he owes you $ you paid to care for his pets. I'd call non-emergency and report it. Look around, he may have taken other things he felt belonged to him. I'd file a police report, you may have to take him to court to get the cats back if you want to go that far. At that point it's sketchy but he owes you something and I would have considered the cats abandonded by the end of 30 days. Maybe 60 to be nice about it.
  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    edited 6 July, 2009
    my brother once broke into my parents\' house after they changed the locks on him before he\'d come to pick up his stuff. they called the cops to report it, and tried to call it breaking and entering and burglary-nope. the possessions were his. he had not been there in almost a year, but what he took was his. since they had changed the locks, it was not breaking and entering-it was malicious mischief due to the broken door-and that was it. apparently if you have a key to a dwelling you can\'t trespass-there\'s an assumption that you are allowed entry. that assumption was in place for my brother, because they changed the locks without his knowledge, because they are south ends of horses heading north. INTENT MATTERS. using a key to enter a house to take something which is yours is not against the law, even if you haven\'t asked permission to do so. it is rude, but it is not against the law. it is borderline creepy, but not against the law. please change your locks. tomorrow. get good ones. and notify him in writing that the locks have been could have the letter sent certified mail so he will have to sign for it, and you will have a record. find a way to get it on record that he has knowledge that the locks have been changed-and make sure there is NOTHING of his left in the house. if there is, ship it to him-even if it\'s just an old toothbrush and some underwear, get it out of your house. my parents were TRYING to screw with my brother, and in that case the law did its job by doing nothing...but that\'s why i know that you need to give him no legal leg to stand on. ship anything remaining. change the locks. notify him the locks have changed and arrange verification that he received this notification. that\'s all you can do.:?
  • Vicky ChanVicky Chan MarkhamMember Posts: 3,542
    edited 6 July, 2009
    Yeah, I was going to say the same thing, but everyone else's basically covered it. Do what Kaya said, change the locks ASAP. The guy sounds creepy. No wonder why you want to get rid of him.
  • Sandy NenningerSandy Nenninger PlainvilleMember Posts: 1,975
    edited 6 July, 2009
    I just wanted to say how sorry I am for the unexpected loss of two of your feline family members. Please be careful with any action that you take against him if you are still in the process and your Divorce is not final. You don\'t want him to start any additional trouble over things that you previously agreed on. You might want to consult your attorney about the whole concept of coming into your home when you are not there and taking things without permission. And depending on what the agreement is regarding your home and who actually owns it at this point, you may not yet have the right to change the locks. Although I would ASAP!!!!
  • Lilly KoonsLilly Koons LouisvilleMember Posts: 159
    edited 6 July, 2009
    7 months well I would say that if you paid for the cats vet care he should give you money back for that because if you have bills, and receipts for cat care, you may want to keep those as proof, agreed on changing locks immediately and taking due actions to prevent him from doing anything like that. Even though I wouldn't say get the cats back, you may not be able to if he had them before you guys got together, but if he has paid for your cats vet care I wouldn't bring up any charges for the cat care you gave, since it would be more trouble. Plus possibility if his name is on majority of your cat bills he could win them too. So just a thought. I personally would cut my loses and make sure he didn't take anything of yours I was almost afraid you were going to say he took all 4 but thank goodness he didn't. So consider the bright side and do what must be done, to protect your self and your belongings, especially your cats.
  • SterlingAndTheSTeamSterlingAndTheSTeam Mount OliveMember Posts: 41,262 ✭✭✭
    edited 8 July, 2009
    I would also check all the animal shelters between your residence and his for the 2 cats. Our shelter finds that many Ex\'s take the animals and just for spite, dump them at a shelter, the pound or by the side of the road.
  • Annalisa Conserti-JonesAnnalisa Conserti-Jones Member Posts: 5,234
    edited 9 July, 2009
    I'm so sorry this happened. No, there are no laws against it, because cats are considered chattel in virtually all states. That being said, it's also not breaking and entering if he had a key, he was part owner of your home and/or you gave him permission to take the cats. He just retrieved what was his. It was a pretty crappy way to do it, but not illegal (as Athena said, it was perhaps spiteful, however). Checking with shelters is a good idea. Changing the locks? I would only do if this action has made you feel afraid for yourself. Otherwise you might just be antagonizing your former spouse, and I'm not sure you would be in a good position to do that. I would also take the advice of returning anything that is his immediately, so as not to give him any excuse to return inside your home without permission. If he still does, do call the police to document it all.
  • Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
    edited 9 July, 2009
    As I have written on another thread, a friend of mine in Tokyo (Japanese) was the victim of a love-crazed stalker. He tried to kill her, but ended up killing her husband instead. She is now seriously disabled, thanks to his knife. Change your locks. As cruel as it sounds, your life is the most important issue here. And yes, do report it to the police (who probably won\'t do anything), and do check with the local shelters. I hope and pray that you can be reunited with your cats, but YOUR life is of more concern. Your ex sounds dangerous. Take action. Attrack attention. Change your locks. Save your life. I learned this lesson from my stalking victim friend when I was in abusive relationship, and I seriously believe that she saved my life. We are worried, we care. |:|
  • Mell HarrisMell Harris Member Posts: 3
    edited 13 July, 2009
    Poor you! That is so sad! Having just lost a member of our cat family, I can empathize with the sudden absence of 2 members of your family that you had expected to see when you came home! On top of dealing with the emotional stuff of separation with your husband, too. My personal opinion was that he shouldn\'t have done it, but to give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he was unclear about whether you wanted the cats, or has some emotional stuff going on that\'s resulting in him not behaving as well as he normally would? Definitely document it in case there is some kind of legal redress you can seek during the divorce, and please, please, get your locks changed. I am not saying that your ex is a bad person, it\'s just a small thing you can do to feel more comfortable in your own home, and with all these changes going on, trying to make your home feel comfortable is the least you can do for yourself. If he doesn\'t live there, he doesn\'t need a key. Best of luck, I hope you get your kitties back!
  • Alexis McCabeAlexis McCabe Member Posts: 942
    edited 14 July, 2009
    i wanted to point out in case no one else has that since you guys are still married.. techinically he is allowed in the house and can take the cats. if anything in the divorce you can sue for them... but idk how far that would go. its not tresspassing if he first off had a key and secondly is your husband (unless there is some already legal written up paperwork saying that he isnt allowed on your property) also whatever he had before you guys got married is his. if you guys got the cats while u were married that may be different and easier to sue for them. im sry this happened
  • Kathryn GrahamKathryn Graham Norfolk,Member Posts: 123
    edited 17 July, 2009
    Wow! Thanks everyone for being so caring and supportive. I've checked some stuff with my attorney, everything is documented and none of my soon to be ex's stuff is in my home anymore. I have changed the locks and notified him that I did so. thanks again for all your support!
  • Annalisa Conserti-JonesAnnalisa Conserti-Jones Member Posts: 5,234
    edited 21 July, 2009
    Redgate, if he reacts emotionally to your notification, resist the temptation to answer his "What? All I did was get the cats, and you said I could if I wanted to!" directly. Redirect him to your attorney, who would be able to explain how the action made you feel unsafe, as well as encourage worries that your other cats might be taken next, dispassionately.
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