Jury awards Oregon man $1.4M after claiming landlord stole pet cat following mysterious disappearance


An Oregon man’s dogged search for the truth has left him nearly $1.4 million richer.

Joshua Smith was forlorn when his feline sidekick, Frank, mysteriously disappeared.

But Smith sported a Cheshire cat smile this week after a Multnomah County Circuit Court jury deliberated less than two hours before awarding him $1.375 million for the loss of his 3-year-old tabby, oregonlive.com reported.

Smith had previously sued, claiming his landlord had “catnapped” the furball.

“The jury’s message should be loud and clear to landlords,” said purr-suasive attorney Michael Fuller, who won the case. “You need to respect the rights of tenants, especially when it comes to pets.”

The rags to riches tale began when Smith, 41, encountered the apparent alley cat on the street in 2017 and welcomed him into the humble room he rented at a drug recovery group home in Portland, court records show.

Smith returned home on April 29, 2019, and found Frank had mysteriously vanished. He sued his landlord, Devon Andrade, and the recovery house business, Pinestreet LLC, days later, the outlet reported.

As the fur flew in court, landlord Andrade fessed up that he filched Frank, saying it was a violation of Smith’s lease to have a pet, the media report said. The heartless landlord owned up and said he got his girlfriend to drop Frank off at a local shelter.

“It turned out that the people on the jury were also animal lovers,” said Fuller.

While Smith won beaucoup bucks in court, he didn’t get Frank back. Veterinarians found a microchip in the cat and returned him to his original owner.

In the years since the lawsuit was filed, Smith has gotten married, stayed in recovery, moved to the Oregon resort town of Seaside — population 7,000 — and started up the Handsome Wolf barbershop.

“The most important thing was that I got my day in court,” Smith said. “I got really lucky because I told the truth, no matter what.”

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