It was a Saturday afternoon in April and three cats were lounging in the front yard of a rural home in eastern Washington state.
The owner, who asked that his name not be used, was one of the few cats left in the state after several hundred people moved in to help with the flood.
But the cat-callers weren’t the only ones calling his home.
They were also doing it to his pet, who was also in the house.
“I didn’t really know what was going on,” said John Bess, who lives across the street from Bess’ house.
“I thought it was a family issue.
I think it was just a misunderstanding.”
The incident happened on a weekend when the average person has to wait two weeks before they can get to work, and people are often in desperate need of shelter.
So many people are now looking for shelter on a Saturday, when people can get up and go to work.
Bess said that while he had heard of cat-calls in the past, he hadn’t heard about this one.
“The fact that it happened in a house I didn’t know about, it’s really disturbing,” he said.
“If it was happening in a neighborhood where we don’t have any pets, it would be more common,” said Nancy Mays, a retired preschool teacher who lives about 10 minutes away from the house and lives on the opposite side of the street.
“It would be kind of normal.”
Bess said he called the sheriff’s office to report the incident.
A few days later, a neighbor told him the caller’s name was a local resident.
The caller’s address was a short distance from Bress house, and Mays said the neighbor told her the caller is from a family who owns the property.
Bress said he contacted the sheriff, who gave him a description of the caller.
Mays and Bess both told The Washington Post they were shocked when the sheriff called back.
“When the sheriff was called, he said it was all right, and he said that they have to get a dog out of there,” Mays told The Post.
“It’s just like, you know, it makes me feel bad that they didn’t think of that before, and that it would happen,” she said.
Bess, the neighbor and Mees said the caller has lived at the property for years, but never made the connection that he was a retired employee.
“My kids are not too sure about this, but they’ve seen him around the house, so they think he’s an employee,” Mees told The Associated Press.
“But I’m sure he’s been here since the early ’90s.”
Mays said that although she thinks it’s “an odd occurrence,” she didn’t believe the caller was a resident of the home.
She added that she thinks people who have a pet may have a problem with it.
“We’re used to seeing people having a pet, so I think we’d be able to sort of take that into consideration,” she told The AP.
Mays and Mess said they were glad to hear that the caller had been arrested, and hoped that a conviction would deter others from doing the same.
“You never want to have a situation like this,” Mives said.
“People don’t understand that you don’t need to have an animal to have fun, you just need to be a good citizen and a good neighbor.”
The owner of the house told KIRO-TV that the cat had been sick for a couple of weeks and was “getting a little lonely.”
He said the cat is now a healthy adult, and is getting a new collar.