A cat stolen by a nanny on Long Island, New York, who wanted to spare it from being euthanized has been returned to its owners — and appears to have a new leash on life.
The tabby, named Tigger, was seized from Rebecca Katz on Monday night at a home in Oceanside by plainclothes officers and returned to Julie and Russell Berman, according to her attorney.
Carolyn Sanchez, who is representing Katz in the case, said Tigger was improperly seized.
The officers said they were at the residence to issue Katz' husband a bench warrant for an unrelated case but did not, and instead swiped the cat, Sanchez said.
"There were shenanigans involved in the taking of the cat," Sanchez told NBC News on Wednesday. "It’s clear there were shenanigans."
A Nassau County Police spokeswoman told NBC News the department knew nothing of the incident.
The manner in which the cat was confiscated was not at the direction of the judge, according to Sanchez, who requested the case be dismissed without condition at an appearance in Nassau County District Court on Wednesday.
Katz was charged with petit larceny last month and released on probation. She is due back in court on Sept. 6.
Katz took Tigger on July 2, a day before he was scheduled to be euthanized and said that she left the Bermans a lengthy note explaining her actions.
Sanchez said the Bermans have indicated they will give Tigger the treatment he needs and not have him euthanized.
"The Bermans appear to be sincere and I’m hopeful that they will do the right thing by this cat," Sanchez said.
Russell Berman would not comment on the cat's future on Wednesday other than to say, "We're very happy Tigger is finally back home with his loving family."
Julie Berman told authorities in July she had planned to put down the family's pet of 15 years "due to many medical issues" and because he was "living in pain over the recent months," according to court documents.
Katz previously told NBC News Tigger has behavioral and health issues and that she asked the owners for years to take him off their hands. She also said she has spent more than $1,000 on veterinarian visits for Tigger.
The issue was never who would have custody of Tigger, Katz said, but "about re-awakening the Bermans and opening their eyes on mistreating their cat."
"At the end of the day, if they have had a change of heart and they are going to get him proper medical care and give him full love, then Tigger has won," she told NBC News on Wednesday. "If they don't, well then, society can treat them how they deserve to be treated."
The cat was recently examined by a veterinarian at Manhasset Animal Hospital who concluded that he could live another 2 1/2 to 5 years, Sanchez said. The veterinarian reviewed Tigger's medical record and found that even with his health issues, he does not have any dire medical condition and is not in pain, according to Sanchez. She said this information was presented to the Bermans in an affidavit.
While her client would rather have the cat in her care to "ensure its safety and well being," Sanchez said both she and Katz are content that Tigger apparently "got a new lease on life."
"Since the Bermans appear to be doing the right thing by the cat, we don’t want to litigate this to the end of the earth," Sanchez said. "I’m happy that the cat is going to be able to live out its days."