Belgian animal rights agency GAIA is optimistic about the fate of the wanted cat Lee.
The cat was illegally taken from Peru by 23-year-old student Selena Ali. The Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (AFSCA) said the cat needed to be put to sleep because Ali had brought Lee into the country without obtaining AFSCA’s permission.
The agency said that it would be dangerous to allow the cat to remain in Belgium as Peru was a high-risk country for rabies and that it could not be ensured that the cat was rabies-free.
On Tuesday, Peruvian authorities said that “it is feasible for the cat to return to Peru.”
“After turbulent weeks, a compromise finally seems to be in sight,” said GAIA President Michel Vandenbosch. It is “a compromise that protects public health and spares the life of Lee. Of course, our preference was and still is quarantine in Belgium.”
While the cat will be allowed to return to Peru, it is not yet known how the cat’s return will be organised, according to Denis Ducarme, the Federal Minister in charge of AFSCA.
AFSCA had decided to put the cat down as it seemed to be the only possible alternative at the time. Ali resisted the decision and hid the cat, after which the agency started summary proceedings against the student for endangering public health. A ruling is expected on Friday.
The Brussels Times