Neighbors in Illinois have found themselves in an awkward situation over custody of Joey, a white Himalayan cat. Joey went missing in 2013, and his owner, Nichole Milone, eventually assumed a coyote had gotten him. Over two years later, she was shocked to look over and see Joey in a neighbor’s yard, only three doors down. Those neighbors are Shawnie and Steve Godke, and they don’t want to give Joey back after caring for him for years.
According to Life With Cats, Shawnie says Joey had been visiting her home for months. She and her husband would feed the cat but tell him to go home. However, from Joey’s appearance, they thought he was being neglected. When Joey eventually refused to leave, the couple took him in and made him a part of their family.
WGNTV.com reports that Nichole took action to try to find Joey, including reporting the disappearance to the police, putting up fliers and contacting PetKey, the manufacturer of Joey’s microchip. The Godkes claim they tried to find Joey’s owner, and they did take him to the vet, who looked up the cat’s microchip in a database. The problem was that the vet only looked it up in one database. Had he checked multiple databases, he would have found Joey’s information, instead of believing the cat had an unregistered chip.
At this point, Nichole and the Godkes are at an impasse. The Godkes don’t want to give Joey up, but Nichole wants him back. They have both hired lawyers and may end up in court if they don’t reach an agreement on the custody situation. Nichole got unlucky when the vet didn’t check more than one microchip database, but microchipping pets is important and it gets many lost pets back to their rightful owners safely. Please microchip your pets and keep an eye on them.
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