Sat, Feb 22, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Public apology over cat incident costs man his job

By Wang Chin-yi and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A man’s alleged deceit after being asked to look after a Scottish Fold kitten that led to the animal’s death has led to him losing his job.

A public announcement revealed personal information about the man, surnamed Lu (呂), along with details of his former employer, Lu said.

Lu tendered his resignation to preserve the real-estate company’s reputation after netizens reading the notice online called his company, he said.

The incident began on Sept. 16 last year when Lu was asked by the kitten’s owner, a woman surnamed Yang (楊), to take care of the kitten.

The two had adopted the cat together.

On Sept. 21, Lu took the kitten to a vet in Hualien where it died due of acute pneumonia.

Lu told Yang that the kitten had wandered off.

Yang began putting up posters and offered a NT$10,000 reward for the kitten’s return and Lu accompanied Yang for three days searching for the kitten.

Lu asked a friend to call Yang to say that the cat had been found and taken to Taipei.

Yang went to Taipei to hand out more notices, requested police to look at street surveillance footage and contemplated reporting the animal stolen.

Lu said he did not expect the incident to escalate and in November last year, he told Yang of the kitten’s death.

Yang then sued Lu for killing the kitten, obstruction of liberty and implicating others.

The district prosecutor in charge of the case called for an out-of-court settlement, to which Yang asked that Lu print an apology — which Yang penned — to be printed in Hualien newspapers and pay NT$20,000 toward expenses incurred trying to find the kitten along with a N$10,000 donation to the Help Save a Pet Fund.

Lawyer Lin Kuo-tai (林國泰) said that if the contents of what Yang wrote in the apology were true and they had been agreed to by Lu as part of the out-of-court settlement, then the publication of the personal details was not illegal.

However, if other comments she has made are not true, then Yang could be accused of tarnishing Lu’s reputation, Lin added.

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