In August 2009, a stray cat wandered into the Bond Street neighborhood in Saugus. Walsh and her husband, Leo, named the cat “Gray.” Their neighbors, Michael Chesna Jr. and his mother, Cheryl, named the cat “Darkness.”
Both the Walshes and Michael Chesna began feeding and caring for the cat, agreeing that the cat was an “outdoors cat.” But both families had “bad blood” between them and began claiming the cat as their own.
The jury found the Chesnas civilly liable for conspiring to take unlawful possession of the cat, causing emotional distress and ordered the Chesnas to pay $100. The jury ordered the Chesnas to pay for the court costs in finding the defendants liable for malicious abuse of process and negligent infliction of emotional distress. (Walsh testified she had spent $19,000 on court costs).
The jury rejected the Chesnas’ claims and awarded the cat to the Walshes, so the cat as a happy home and the neighbors still hate each other. From the cat’s point of view, the story at least has a happy ending.