A pet owner forked out £1,000 fighting a bizarre nine-month legal battle to win her missing CAT back from a couple who took it in but refused to give the animal back.
Senka Besirevic, 42, was devastated when her beloved pet Brandy disappeared from her home seven years ago without a trace.
She hunted for the missing moggy for months and plastered her neighbourhood in Selly Oak, Birmingham, with posters of Brandy but her cat never turned up.
Teaching assistant Senka was thrilled when she received a call from a vet on March 3 last year telling her Brandy had been brought into him and a microchip revealed her as the owner.
Senka discovered Brandy had been taken in by a kindly couple just one mile away who believed the cat was a stray after they found her asleep in their greenhouse.
The couple fed and cared for Brandy, renaming her ‘Smelly’, for three years and even installed a cat-flap for the feline to use.
But when Senka contacted the couple to thank them for looking after Brandy she was shocked when they refused to give her back claiming the animal was now their property.
Senka spent over £1,000 fighting a nine-month legal battle at Birmingham County Court but was finally granted custody in January.
Senka said: “I got a call from my local vet who said a cat had been brought in and scanned and it was my cat.
“I was amazed, I had given up hope of finding her but I thought it was a miracle she had turned up safe and well.
“I was given the telephone number of the woman who had cared for Brandy for three years so I phoned her up and said I wanted my cat back and offered to pay her for her trouble.
“She said she was sorry but her husband didn’t agree, they were going to look into their legal rights.
“I contacted the police but they said if it was a dog they could go in but because it’s a cat they can’t.
“Not knowing where to find legal help, I went into a property agents near where I live in Harborne and they said I was in the right place as Brandy was classed as a piece of property.
“Luckily, I found a solicitor who had been through the same thing and took on my case.
“It was a huge battle, I felt like I had lost her for a second time.”
The case was finally settled in January when the couple bizarrely claimed Brandy had done a runner again.
A week later the cat was handed in anonymously to an RSPCA rescue centre before being finally reunited with Senka.
She said: “I’m just happy to have her back, it’s incredible.
“She’s still the same cat, she’s very cute although she doesn’t go out as much now.
“It’s cost me money to get her back but it was worth every penny.
“I have effectively been given custody of Brandy and I am determined not to lose her again. I love her.
“It is just a shame I had to go to court to get her back. The owners were kind to bring her in but they should have realised how much I missed her.”
The couple who took Brandy in defended their decision to fight her owner in the courts for custody over the cat, saying they did it “out of love”.
Karen and Carl Green, both 52, took the cat in after moving into their home in Bartley Green, Birmingham, in 2007.
The couple, who have three short-haired cats of their own, fed Brandy who they believed was a stray.
Medical secretary Karen, who has two grown-up children, said: “We moved into our house and we were made aware that a cat was living in our greenhouse.
“The neighbours said it was feral and it was in a bad way so I fed her and looked after her and eventually bonded with her. I considered her my pet in many ways.
“We paid for her flea powder and food and just accepted her as one of our own.
“When I took her to the vet last year when she had a sticky eye I was horrified when they scanned her and said she belonged to a woman living nearby.
“I didn’t want to give her up to be honest.
“We’d given her a good home, good food and plenty of space to run around. I didn’t feel it was fair on her to be moved again even if Senka was her rightful owner.
“We took legal advice because we felt that strongly but in the end our solicitor told us we didn’t have a leg to stand on.
“One day the cat went and was handed into the RSPCA.
“Senka has the cat back but I really wish the cat was back her. The greenhouse seems empty without her.
“The fact it went all the way to the courts is ridiculous but I suppose we (Senka and I) both loved her and wanted the best for her.”
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