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Claims disputed in Joliet cat attack lawsuit

This cat is not named Trouble and is not involved in the lawsuit.
This cat is not named Trouble and is not involved in the lawsuit.

JOLIET – Two people being sued over a cat apparently named Trouble that attacked a 7-year-old girl have denied the pet belonged to them and allege the girl provoked the attack.

On Nov. 9, Rena and Kelly Blankenship disputed a July 26 lawsuit that claimed their cat left a girl with claw marks across her forehead that required surgery.

The case has been continued to
Feb. 13 for status on written discovery.

Anna Tezak, the mother of the girl, has sued Rena and Kelly Blankenship for at least $50,000 in damages. Her complaint alleges that on Jan. 4, the girl visited her grandfather in the 600 block of North Reed Street in Joliet and was “attacked without provocation” by Trouble.

Rena and Kelly Blankenship live in the 700 block of North Reed Street, about 480 feet away from where the attack reportedly occurred.

The lawsuit cites a section of the Illinois Animal Control Act that states if a dog or other animal attacks or attempts to attack a person without provocation, their owner may be liable for civil damages.

However, Rena and Kelly Blankenship deny being the owners of the cat and claimed it is feral. They also denied the girl was attacked without provocation and that instead, she “provoked said cat.”

“The plaintiff was not peacefully conducting herself. The plaintiff assumed the risk posed by the cat both expressly and impliedly,” their response to the lawsuit stated.

Rena and Kelly Blankenship were unavailable Friday afternoon. Their attorney at Maisel & Associates was unavailable Friday.

A call to Tezak’s attorney at Mahoney, Silverman & Cross was not returned Friday.