BARNSTEAD — A Belknap County Superior Court Judge determined yesterday that one the parties involved in a cat feces battle in Locke Lake Colony has likely committed involuntary contempt of court.
Judge James O'Neill directed that the Belknap County Attorney investigate whether or not Victoria Bednarski and her husband violated the terms of a restraining order issued in June of 2013 by Judge Kenneth McHugh.
The Bednarskis were ordered to keep their three cats off of the Gilles Dube's property and the Dube's were ordered to stop firing (pellet) guns and lighting fireworks at odd hours of the night.
The Dube's, who have represented themselves throughout the nearly 18 month-long battle, claim that the Bednarskis cats have damaged the beach area of their property by continually defecating there.
Yesterday was the second time the Dube's have come to court to say that the Bednarskis have not complied with McHugh's order. He offered pictures to the court dated August 14 that he said showed the damage to his beach however he said that the wildlife camera he bought to capture images of her cats was inconclusive.
Dube said just last week he was on his deck when one of her cats joined him.
He said the Barnstead Police have been involved and that one officer told them they have the right to protect their property using means that included pellets guns.
Police Chief Joe McDowell confirmed the police have been involved but declined to comment on what now appears to be a possible criminal and not a civil matter.
The Bednarskis are represented by attorney Emily McLaughlin, who said that her clients don't ever let their cats out of the house because they are afraid of what the Dubes will do to them.
She provided a list of signatures from people who says that every time they have been to the Bednarski's home, the cats are inside and there is no evidence that they go outside.
McLaughlin also noted that the Locke Lake area is filled with wildlife including Canadian geese, ducks, raccoons and other wildlife that could also have defecated on the Dube's beach. She also noted that other people in Locke Lake Colony have cats too.
McLaughlin described the Dube's two claims of contempt as "vexatious litigation" and asked that the court award the Bednarskis legal fees.
She said her clients are terrified to be in their own home and that Bruce Bednarski's health has suffered as a result.
Conversely, the Dubes asked the judge to award them $4,000 in damages for the money they have spent on court costs, emotional distress and remediation of the beach area of their property.
The Dube's also want the Humane Society to take the cats from the Bednarski's and put up for adoption.
O'Neill ruled that the cross-restraining order remains in full effect while the county attorney's office investigates. He withheld any ruling on any financial demands until the investigation is complete. He also ordered that if any of the parties are determined to be in "inadvertent contempt" they could be jailed for up to six months.