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Boise woman’s 50 cats left feces in destroyed motel room. She may not have to pay for it.

This file photo shows a Boise Super 8 motel in 2017. The Idaho Supreme Court reversed a court decision for restitution to a Super 8 due to the motel’s sale during court proceedings. | Katherine Jones, Idaho Statesman
(Idaho Statesman) — Heather Lee Hawking’s cats left her Boise motel room a mess, with furniture destroyed, urine and feces everywhere and a litter of kittens born under the box spring of the bed.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean she owes the motel owner money, according to an Idaho Supreme Court decision issued Thursday.
Hawking took about 50 cats to the Super 8 motel on Elder Street by the Boise Airport for several days in July 2018, according to court documents. While there, the cats scratched “furnishings, fabrics and fixtures,” the court opinion said, and urinated and defecated throughout the room. Hawking was charged with misdemeanor malicious injury to property for the damages.
After nearly three years of court proceedings, 4th District Judge David Manweiler ordered Hawking to pay Super 8 $3,700 in restitution. But by then, the motel had been sold to a new owner. The U.S. District Court of Idaho also agreed with the restitution order after Hawking appealed the case over the new ownership.
But the Idaho Supreme Court reversed the previous court rulings.
A former general manager for the Super 8 testified during a restitution hearing when the case was still under Manweiler, according to the justices’ opinion. The manager had told the magistrate judge that she wasn’t sure whether any parts of the damaged room had been replaced before the hotel was sold to the new owner. She also wasn’t sure whether the purchase price of the motel included the replacement costs for any remaining damage. Hawking argued that the new owner may not have incurred any monetary damages from her stay.
The Supreme Court said in its opinion that the state of Idaho failed to include the terms of the motel sale in its argument, leaving in question who was actually the victim in the case.
The Thursday decision doesn’t close the book on the case. The Supreme Court reversed the restitution ruling, but it returned the case to the Ada County magistrate court, where proceedings will continue. Hawking, who does not contest the fact that her cats damaged the motel room, may still owe restitution if the state determines who the appropriate victim is.
The post Boise woman’s 50 cats left feces in destroyed motel room. She may not have to pay for it. appeared first on East Idaho News.

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