In the small town of Hartland, Minnesota, a woman and her house full of cats have been battling the town officials regarding strict pet ordinances. Kimberly Jameson is the textbook definition of “cat lady.” The 53-year old lover of cats has been facing scrutiny for the last two years regarding her behavior towards cats. In fact, the current pet ordinances have been put in place because of her situation. The ordinance stipulates that every household in the town can only have a maximum number of two pets at a time.
The town’s problem with Jameson’s feline fancy was exacerbated by the fact that she doesn’t just keep her pet practices in her own home. Jameson goes around town feeding feral and stray cats. She leaves food and water bowls all over the town, encouraging all sorts of animals to come and feed as well.
Jameson also keeps the feral cats and strays in her home. She actually registered 10 of these cats as emotional support animals, but that has not stopped the city from trying to change the way she takes care of her cats. According to officials, Jameson has created a public health risk for the citizens of the town. The food she leaves everywhere attracts unwanted wild animals such as rats, raccoons, possums, and skunks into the town. The mayor has even described Jameson’s behavior as problematic and not in the best interest of the town.
The battle has escalated in the last few months. Both parties have been going to court with hopes of resolving the issue. The city claims that Jameson keeps 40 cats in her home, but Jameson denies this and claims that the highest number of cats she’s had at any given time was 20. Jameson claims that the mayor is merely targeting her, even further stating that she’s never had a problem with keeping cats until the mayor, Debra Flatness, took office 18 months ago.
Mayor Flatness deflected Jameson’s statement by claiming that complaints have been around for a long time and are just getting addressed now. There was a momentary respite in the battle last year when a legal agreement was signed by the city and Jameson that allowed the woman to keep as many as 10 cats. However, even that agreement was misunderstood, as the city sees no replacement cats were allowed for Jameson. Jameson saw it the opposite way, claiming that she should be able to replace cats that have passed away in order to always keep her total count of cats at 10.
The city claims Jameson has not kept up her end of the bargain. Apparently, she still left food all over town. She has also not put up the proper fencing to enclose her yard. It was then Jameson’s time to counter this, stating that the city actually denied her fencing proposals. Jameson also states that she’s only left food in places where the townsfolk have asked her to keep doing so.
The most recent development in the story involves the city asking the judge to have all of Jameson’s cats removed from her property except for two. Jameson feels targeted still by the city, claiming that many other households have more than two pets. Yet, she’s the only one being made to comply with the rules. Jameson also has a letter from a state-registered humane agent stipulating just how well she’s taking care of her cats. She also reminds the city again that at least 10 of her animals are registered as support animals.
Regardless of any of the above, it’s highly unlikely that Jameson will get to keep her cats. The city claims that majority of the town support the officials’ demands and requirements. Mayor Flatness believes that Jameson’s intentions are in the right place; however, it’s not the proper way to keep so many creatures under one roof. The mayor hopes that those who vocalize their support for Jameson would one day provide a home for the many cats that will be homeless if Jameson is forced to give her cat away.
Despite of her resolve, Jameson is preparing herself for the worst. She can’t begin to imagine what her life would be like without the rest of her cats. She believes that cats have given her purpose in life, and being without them would completely change her life.