The old man and the six-toed cats: Hemingway home in dispute
Saturday, July 29, 2006; Posted: 7:18 a.m. EDT (11:18 GMT)
MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- The caretakers of Ernest Hemingway's Key West home want a federal judge to intervene in their dispute with the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the six-toed cats that roam the property.
More than 50 descendants of a multi-toed cat the novelist received as a gift in 1935 wander the grounds of the home, where Hemingway lived for more than 10 years and wrote "A Farewell to Arms" and "To Have and Have Not."
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum disputes the USDA's claim that it is an "exhibitor" of cats and needs to have a USDA Animal Welfare License, according to a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Miami.
"What they're comparing the Hemingway house to is a circus or a zoo because there are cats on the premises," Cara Higgins, the home's attorney, said Friday. "This is not a traveling circus. These cats have been on the premises forever."
A message left Friday afternoon at the Washington, D.C., office of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was not immediately returned.
The agency has repeatedly denied a license for the Hemingway home under the Animal Welfare Act, which the home contends governs animals in commerce. The USDA has threatened to charge the home $200 per cat per day for violating the act, according to the complaint.
"We're asking the judge to let us know whether this act applies to the cats, and if so why that is if the animals are not in commerce," Higgins said. "If it has something to do with the number of cats, how many do we have to get rid of to be in compliance with the act?"
Agency inspectors who have repeatedly visited the property since October 2003 have never indicated any concerns about the welfare of the cats.
But they have said a 6-foot-high, brick-and-mortar fence Hemingway built around the property in 1937 did not sufficiently contain the 53 cats, which should be caged, according to the complaint.
Caging the cats, some of which are 19 years old or older, would traumatize them, and the home's designation as a National Historic Site prohibits extending the height of the fence, the complaint said.
The tourist site complies with city and county ordinances, Higgins said. "We don't know why the USDA got involved in this," she said.
I say if there is no commerce going on and the house complies with city and county ordinances the USDA needs to find something more important to enforce. Sounds like they're not busy enough.
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Hemingway was a good old communist, no wonder he had a 6 toe cat.
Do you have 6 toes Cecil ? LOL
No opinion on the subject just wise cracks?
they should butt out, but they aren't gonna. BP
He was a Communist ,then the care takers will have to reap what he helped to sow.Govt. regulatiion of everything.
or a homo these days just because you don't like their idealogy is passe anymore. You have to be a little more sophisticated than that.
Thats the wonderful thing about this Country ,I don't have to ;or mabe won't conform to what you or this society thinks .But they are working really hard on that;and one day they will probably even regulate my mouth and yours.
this is just another example of what the government does best>
1. Stick their nose where it doesnt belong
2. interpret their own rules in a completely different way than what was originally intended.
3. they always take something simple and then complicate the hell out of it.
they shouldnt even be involved, period.