Man wants beloved Swansea library cat evicted - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Man wants beloved Swansea library cat evicted

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Andrea Medeiros

amedeiros@abc6.com

A few people in Swansea think a longtime fixture at the public library has overstayed her welcome. The lady of the library is Penny, a 14 year old cat.

All of this was started by one man who is demanding the cat be out of the library by Friday. He says the cat violates federal disabilities law, because some people are allergic to her.

When you walk into Swansea Public Library you're greeted by Penny.  She's a tabby that's been making readers smile for a decade.

"She's got such a good nature. She's good with the kids," said one librarian.

But now Patrick Higgins wants her gone. "I said make the cat disappear by Friday,"

Higgins sent a letter to library leaders and the town saying Penny violates the Americans With Disabilities Act. "You have to make reasonable accommodations to accommodate disabilities, and people with a cat allergy or a food allergy, that's a disability," said Higgins.

Higgins isn't allergic to Penny but says he's gotten letters and phone calls from people who are, and it's not fair to them.

"It's not like when we borrow books or anything, there's not cat hair all over them or nothing," said one library patron.

"I'm allergic to cats," said another patron, "It's never bothered me. I just think it's sad that they're trying to get rid of her."

Having a cat live at the Swansea Library has been going on for decades. Penny and the cats before her have become icons in town, but Higgins says that's not enough of a reason to let her stay.

We checked the Americans With Disabilities Act and didn't see anything in there about allergies. As for Penny, librarians don't know at this point if she'll be able to stay. A hundred people, as of Wednesday night, had already signed a petition to keep her.

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