SPOKANE, Wash. – Homeowners in one South Hill neighborhood claim their neighbors are luring and trapping cats.

Cat trapping is a contentious issue, but KREM 2 learned it is not illegal in Spokane County.

Eric Thompson said he has lived in the Comstock neighborhood for 30 years and has never had a problem.

That was until last month. Thompson said that is when talk started around the neighborhood that a couple had laid out a trap with food to catch cats going into their backyard.

That information bothered Kaydee Miller, who lives next door to the couple, “It’s absolutely sick. They’re not doing things to keep cats out of their yards, they’re doing things to literally draw the cats to their yard,” Miller said.

The situation escalated Saturday night. That’s when Miller said she noticed Thompson’s cat in her next door neighbor’s trap. Miller said she went to Thompson’s house to tell him.

Thompson said he went to the house to get his cat back and encountered the homeowner, “He did not deny that he had traps on his property and he did not deny that he was baiting the traps and did not deny that he had a black cat in a trap some place on his property,” Thompson said, “I said please give me my cat back and he laughed and said you can pick it up at SCRAPS.”

Thompson said he went to the neighbor’s backyard, heard his cat howling, and found it trapped in a shed. Thompson said he took the trap and tried to leave and that is when he claims he was attacked by the homeowner.

Thompson said at one point the homeowner’s wife even scratched him with a gardening tool.

Thompson was able to get his cat back and the police were called. Police took a report and passed the information along to SCRAPS. SCRAPS director Nancy Hill told KREM 2 setting traps on your own property is perfectly legal.

According to Spokane County code, cats cannot be on private property without the property owner’s permission. If that is the case, the property owner can trap the animal but the must treat the animal humanely. The cat can be brought into SCRAPS and they will try to find the owner or put it up for adoption.

Hill said while people are within their rights to trap an animal on their property, it should be treated as a last resort. She recommends finding other ways to keep animals away. Hill also said a pet owner can get a citation for their pet leaving their property.

Thompson said he knows his cat should not have been out of his yard, but the situation should have never gone that far.

KREM 2 did contact the neighbors using the trap, but they did not want to comment on the situation.