Stranded cats land owner with €3,000 bill
09:44 26 September 2012
Combe Martin woman trying to raise money to get her cats back after they end up stuck on the wrong side of the channel.
THE owner of six cats facing an uncertain future after being stranded in France has appealed for help to bring her beloved pets home.
A series of mishaps dogged Nina Hanson’s move back to the UK after 20 years in Spain, resulting in her cats being kept at a veterinary clinic in France and her with no money to pay the £3,000 bill for their release.
She had been due to collect them after their 21 days in quarantine were over, but unexpected money problems meant Nina could not pay the bill and she watched in horror as it mounted steadily at 460 Euros per week.
Numerous attempts to borrow or raise money failed and her only hope is people will be moved by her appeal and make a donation to help bring the cats home. She has said she is willing to pay back any money she receives.
Nina, 64, had decided to move back to England and rented a house in Combe Martin, where her daughter lives, after ill health forced her to give up the Greek restaurant she ran in the Spanish town of Denia, between Alicante and Valencia.
A passionate animal lover, she had rescued several during her time abroad and was not about to abandon her five dogs and six cats.
But a missed ferry, a broken down car and then refusal to let her cats onboard the ferry due to paperwork problems, all led to Nina and the dogs on one side of the channel and the cats on the other.
Two months later, cats Linzi, Daisy, Tweeny, Sophie, Lynda and Jimmy are still there and the bill stands at more than 4,000 Euros.
“They mean everything to me,” she told the Gazette.
“If I had known all this would happen I would have stayed in France and brought them back after the three weeks was up. Two of the cats I have had for 13 years, the others for several years each.
“People have a go at me for being so silly with animals, but they are my babies, each one is individual.”
Diana Lewis of North Devon Animal Ambulance spoke to the vet Doctor Francois Borel at his clinic in Ouistreham, Normandy, on Nina’s behalf and he has now agreed to cap the rising bill at 3,000 Euros (around £2,400).
“We have to find a solution,” Dr Borel told the Gazette.
“It is a situation that is very difficult; normally I should have kept the cats for 21 days, but I had hardly any news for a month-and-a-half.
“It would be a big decrease in the bill for me, but I am not going to keep the cats for months and months. We are a veterinary clinic, we are not supposed to keep animals for that long.
“We have to sort it out, in the interest of the animals and for me.”
Dr Borel said he would not have the cats destroyed, but he was very keen to resolve the matter.
Mrs Lewis said North Devon Animal Ambulance could not help directly, but she was willing to make a personal donation to help get the fund raising underway.
If anyone would like to help, Nina can be contacted on 01271 883996.