Alleged cat-napping draws protest


Even for a creature that supposedly has nine lives, Karl the cat has weathered many vicissitudes since the summer.

After caretakers dropped him off at Gentle Hands Veterinarian at 3547 Johnson Ave. on Aug. 6, Dr. Shirley Koshi refused to give the feline back. The vet claims cat rescuer Gwen Jurmark has no rights to Karl, although Ms. Jurmark says she adopted him from an Animal Care and Control shelter in 2009. 

In an effort to regain custody of Karl, Ms. Jurmark organized a protest outside Dr. Koshi’s office on Saturday.

“It’s the most absurd thing I have ever seen in my life,” said Ms. Jurmwaark, who has sued Dr. Koshi to hand over Karl.

About a half dozen supporters joined Ms. Jurmark outside of Gentle Hands, holding signs and telling passersby not to entrust their pets to Dr. Koshi.

“Don’t let mommy take you to the vet!” protester Fred Key said in the direction of a woman walking her Dotson down the street.

“I don’t get it,” said the Dotson’s owner, Eva, who declined to disclose her last name.  “She’s a vet? She should lose her license.”

Until August, the cat in question lived in Raoul Wallenberg Forest in Seton Park, where Ms. Jurmark maintains what she described as a colony of rescued cats. The retired teacher said seven cats currently live at the site, where volunteers give them food every day.

Ms. Jurmark said after Karl contracted a urinary tract infection, two volunteers brought him to Gentle Hands. She said Dr. Koshi insisted on keeping the black-and-white cat on the premises for ten days while administering an antibiotic. After several exchanges, Ms. Jurmark came to the center to retrieve Karl last month, but Dr. Koshi’s office refused to let Ms. Jurmark in and called the police, who told Ms. Jurmark to leave.

While Gentle Hands was closed during the Saturday protest, Dr. Koshi gave an interview at her office on Sunday. She said Ms. Jurmark has not shown sufficient proof she owns the cat, explaining that owners have to install microchip implants in their pets and give evidence of rabies vaccination. The vet also rejected the way Ms. Jurmark, a Yonkers resident, handled Karl.

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