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Court Rules Against Woman’s Will Ordering Healthy Cat To Be Euthanized

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A kitten is pictured on December 5, 2009

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A cat from Berwyn has been spared, despite an order in the will of her deceased owner.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, when Georgia Lee Dvorak died on Dec. 24 at the age of 76, her will – drawn up 24 years ago – said most of her estate, valued at $1.4 million, would go to organizations such as the Anti-Cruelty Society, the Humane Society, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

But curiously, the will also ordered that any cat or cats she owned at the time of her death was to be euthanized “in a painless, peaceful manner,” apparently regardless of their health.

The order meant a death sentence for Boots, Dvorak’s 11-year-old cat.

But the trust officers at Fifth Third Bank saw the inconsistency and got Boots lawyered up. Attorneys said it would be a “violation of public policy” to euthanize a healthy cat when a shelter was available, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The attorneys said legal precedent in other states likewise indicated that killing healthy pets because their owners have died violates public policy, and no Illinois court has taken up the issue one way or another, the Tribune reported.

The prior cases include one in Canada, where a man had willed that his horses should be shot by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and burned, the newspaper reported.

In Cook County Probate Court, Judge Susan Coleman agreed to spare boots, and she is going to a no-kill shelter, the Tribune reported.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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