A Long Beach man is suing the city, alleging he contracted typhus in 2019 because the local animal control service would not remove homeless kittens possibly carrying fleas near his home.
Caesar Colorado’s Los Angeles Superior Court negligence suit, filed Thursday, seeks unspecified damages.
Typhus is an infectious disease in which sufferers often have a purple rash, headaches, fever and usually delirium. The malady is transmitted by lice, ticks, mites and fleas.
Reached Friday, Deputy City Attorney Howard Russell declined to comment on the case.
Colorado, 56, says he went to the city’s Animal Care Services office in late May or June 2019 and asked that 13 roaming cats be picked up from the public alley behind his backyard. An employee of the agency told him they could not take away the felines because they were not yet eight weeks old nor weighed at least two pounds, the suit states.
The employee gave Colorado vouchers to get free food for the animals, according to his court papers. Although Colorado worried he would be encouraging the animals to stay and that they would reproduce, he provided meals to the kittens as he believed he had been ordered to do so, the suit says.
“He wished them to be gone, but worried that if he removed or disposed of them on his own … he would become liable for animal cruelty,” the suit states.
Within days of feeding the kittens, Colorado was bitten by insects he believes were fleas, the suit states. He suffered from headaches and a fever and last July 14, he fell to the floor of his home unconscious, the suit states.
A friend found Colorado hours later and the plaintiff, unable to stand, was taken by ambulance to Long Beach Medical Center, where he experienced kidney failure, according to the suit. He remained in the hospital for more than a month and was diagnosed with typhus, then underwent dialysis for several weeks after he was released until his kidneys were normal, according to the complaint.
Colorado still has hip pain and problems walking after his struggle with typhus, according to his court papers.
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