MONTREAL — A search for a cat has ended in Quebec's highest court with a ruling this week that an animal shelter must divulge the identity of the family that took in the missing pet.
The Quebec Court of Appeal upheld a lower court decision ordering that the name and contact information of the adoptive family be handed over to the animal's owner.
The ruling says Sundae, who has been owned by Axel Boucart since 2009, wandered off from the family home in Trois-Rivieres, Que. without his collar or tag "on or about" April 13 this year.
"Sundae is the epitome of feline sociability," the family wrote on Facebook after the orange-and-white calico cat disappeared. "He goes to people, sticks to them and even invites them to supper and sometimes to bed."
They described him as "a loving, cuddly and purring mega cat."
The family said the cat was a roamer, so they were not alarmed when he disappeared for a day or two.
But after he failed to turn up after more than a week, they reported Sundae missing on April 23 to the SPA Mauricie animal shelter.
On May 28, the family was told the cat was at the shelter. A day later, they learned the cat was in fact already living with its new adoptive family.
Last month, a Quebec court judge in Trois-Rivieres ordered the SPA Mauricie to hand over contact information for Sundae's new family. But the animal shelter refused and sought to appeal the matter. It claimed Quebec's privacy laws prevent it from disclosing the information.
Appeal Court Justice Robert Mainville rejected the privacy argument, saying it wasn't relevant.
He ruled that Boucart has the right to obtain from the shelter "information concerning the name and contact information of the family that would have adopted the cat, in order to try to recover it."
Sundae has not yet found his way home according to a Facebook post Thursday from Boucart, who declined further comment.
The SPA Mauricie did not return the calls from The Canadian Press.
Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press