A stray cat at Lincoln Place apartments is shown. A Los Angeles County Superior… (Patrick T. Fallon / For The…)
If cats have nine lives, the stray felines in a Venice colony should consider themselves down to eight.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge issued an order Monday barring the removal of 20 to 35 cats that have roamed the grounds of the Lincoln Place apartments for years.
Aimco Venezia, the owner of the beach-adjacent complex, had planned to trap the cats Tuesday to prepare for a $150-million renovation in the coming weeks.
But fearing that the animals would be sent to a shelter only to be deemed feral and euthanized, an attorney for the Los-Angeles-based Stray Cat Alliance filed a complaint Monday to delay the plan and won a temporary judgment from Judge John H. Reid.
"Aimco has done nothing humane or responsible for these cats and now they want them hauled away to their deaths," said the alliance's executive director, Christi Metropole.
Aimco spokeswoman Cindy Duffy said the company has carefully followed the city's municipal code in its attempt to get the cats "out of harm's way."
"We want to be able to move forward with this major redevelopment, which will help with the whole area," Duffy said. "As we were doing this, we were taking into consideration the health and welfare of our residents, and we were trying to be responsible with how these cats might be removed."
To build its case, the alliance argued that it had property interest in the cats because it had spent thousands of dollars feeding, sterilizing, vaccinating, microchipping and otherwise caring for the animals.
Metropole said the alliance's spay and neuter program reduced the cat population from 100 to about 20 over the last 18 months. About 60 cats were adopted or relocated, she said. Others may have died or wandered away.
A hearing is scheduled Nov. 9 at which the judge may decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction.