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Hemingway house claws back at cat order

Nov. 8, 2010 at 12:20 PM

KEY WEST, Fla., Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The Hemingway house in Key West, Fla., is fighting an order to get an animal exhibition license for the writer's famous cats.

Michael Morawski, owner of the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, is challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandate in federal court, The (Key West) Citizen reported.

There are about 40 descendants of Ernest Hemingway's six-toed cats roaming the 1-acre property.

The issue seemed settled two years ago when the museum got the license after the USDA asserted the facility was breaking the Animal Welfare Act by not caging the cats. But Morawski is fighting the requirement as an unnecessary waste of taxpayer funds, said his attorney, Cara Higgins.

The museum says the animals do not fall under regulations because they are not made to perform tricks, are not crossing state lines and are not being sold. Higgins said the cats are healthy and get regular veterinary checkups.

U.S. Judge Jose Martinez will hear the case Monday in Key West.

Hemingway died in 1961.

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