Missing cat tale a puzzle

Catherine Greenfield’s cat, Josie, was trapped on Daniel Island and hasn’t been seen since March 23.

Josie could be living the life of luxury with new owners or wandering the woods.

The 9-year-old Siamese mix cat belonging to a Daniel Island woman is missing, and the owner of a wildlife removal company who trapped the feline has been charged in her disappearance. The two sides in this cat caper are telling contradictory tales.

Catherine Greenfield said she has not seen her cat, Josie, since before March 23, the day she learned a next-door neighbor had hired Animal Solutions of Charleston.

David Palvado, who owns the company with Janie Lawson, whom he described as his common-law wife, said he trapped Josie “due to reported damage at Ms. Boyd’s residence,” according to a report by Charleston Animal Control.

Palvado told an investigating officer Thursday that he gave the cat away and the officer told him to return the cat.

On Monday, Palvado said he trapped Josie and another cat “and claims he released the victim’s cat at the end of Clements Ferry Rd. by the entrance to Hwy. 526,” according to the officer’s report. The officer advised Palvado the law requires animals that are caught to be reported or turned over to the proper agency.

Palvado is charged with keeping of strays, animal abandonment and illegal treatment/cruelty. The citations carry maximum fines of $158, $470 and $1,092, respectively. He has a court date April 23.

In a phone call Tuesday, Palvado said he was hired by a client on Daniel Island to trap an opossum. The client, Pat Boyd, could not be reached for comment.

Animal Solutions of Charleston, which is based in Mount Pleasant, has been in business since 2009, according to the S.C. Secretary of State. Palvado said he has worked in wildlife removal for about 10 years.

“I didn’t get the possum, but I got a cat,” he said. “The cat was living under (his client’s) house and basically tearing up her ductwork and tearing up the insulation.”

Palvado said he does not intentionally trap domestic animals. His website states, “Common animals that can be a nuisance and what we can exterminate or get rid of are rats, mice, bats, raccoons, squirrels, opossums, snakes, birds and other animals that can be a problem.”

The cat did not have a collar, and his client did not know who the owner was, he said.

“I called a lady who lives in my neighborhood and asked her if she wanted the cat, and she said yes,” Palvado said. “I was transferring the cat from my cage to a holding cage to deliver it ... and the cat got out and ran off. I didn’t mean to lose the cat, which I did. I couldn’t find it.”

He said the cat got away “right down the road” from Greenfield’s Boundary Street home.

Palvado said Greenfield later told him, “We didn’t want the cat anyway.” He said she has since changed her story “and is making a big stink about it, and it’s a big fat mess.”

Greenfield disputes Palvado’s contentions. “The fact is he took my cat, and he’s telling me a lie.”

Palvado said he has hired an attorney but would not give a name.

About a week before Josie was trapped, Greenfield received a letter from the Daniel Island Property Owners’ Association about the cat being loose in the neighborhood, she said.

“I was working diligently to come up with a solution,” she said.

Since then, Josie had been spending more time indoors. Greenfield planned to take the cat to her mother-in-law in Georgia in May, she said.

Greenfield said Palvado told her that the cat was with the director of the John Ancrum SPCA, who was planning to “give her a home with an old woman.”

On March 26, Greenfield tried to call the SPCA employee Palvado had named and was told he hasn’t worked there for several years. In 2008, the SPCA was renamed Charleston Animal Society.

“When I heard that, I was panic-stricken,” said Greenfield, who is married and has two sons. “I don’t know what he did with my cat. The whole thing is just horrible.”

She called animal control that day.

Greenfield posted fliers and searched for Josie. The cat is microchipped, and Greenfield is offering a $400 reward for her return.

“You can’t have rogue maverick trappers running around taking people’s pets,” Greenfield said.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or facebook.com/brindge.