Homeless Man With 4 Cats to Be Evicted

Several months ago I posted some photos of "Jimmy" who lives on a bridge that serves as a railroad easement bridge over a County flood control channel in Northridge, right behind Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Now the railroad wants him gone. They gave him a citation for living on private property without permission, violation CA P.C. 647(j). The cops have wanted him gone for years. They harass him every few months. Now he has been to court, and he is due back on July 1.

Good for Jimmy, but bad for Union Pacific RR is that Jimmy is living on a bridge owned by Los Angeles County Flood Control, not the railroad. That is not stopping them.

Jimmy has four cats that live with on the bridge with him, but he tends to several feral colonies in a much larger area. One who lives in his tent with him, and several three more live in little cat houses he built surrounding his tent, or on a protected ledge under the bridge.

Jimmy has lived there tending his cats for almost three years. He makes it very clear he has been providing a community services for years, keeping the area free from trash as well as the storm channel itself. He also keeps his eye out for any criminal activity in the area. But it appears that the security service that covers Bed, Bath and Beyond and the other chain stores, Best Buy and Office Depot, does not like homeless people and have been pestering the City and Union Pacific to force Jimmy to move.

If Jimmy's tent is torn down and he has to relocate somewhere tentless, there will be no one to take care of his cats.

Also notice the unused tracks from the main line (At the right of the photo) that Union Pacific owns that used to go North to the Fashion Mall. The tracks have been unused for over 30 years and are over County property.

Looking at the arial map below, one can see it is in the middle of a commerical/industrial area. There are no residential housing within hundreds of feet.

He is supposed to go to court on July for a second time on July 1. The first time he said to the judge he will fight anyone who tries to hurt his cats. I think that is why he got a two week delay. They may be planning on a full court press with a dozen agencies right after winning in court. He has new evidence to bring to court which may help him prepared by Mary Cummins and I.

In any event, it appears that Jimmy may soon be "Masonized," and he needs help.

His tent is located behind Bed, Bath and Beyond at 8596 Tampa, in a tent over the flood control channel completely outside the area owned by Union Pacific Railroad.

This Google map below is several years old, before Jimmy moved there years ago. It clearly shows that that bridge Jimmy lives on is over the flood control channel. The photos show the same thing. The bridge used to be used by the railroad to cross the County property (an easement not used for 30 years and now dead). These spur tracks no longer connect to the main line or anywhere else. They just sit there broken.

View Larger Map

A Union Pacific Detective wrote Jimmy a letter left on his tent informing him he had been cited for violation of California Penal Code 647(j), Lodging on private property without permission.

My letter to Councilmember Smith:

Greig Smith


June 19, 2009

Re: Naser Abdel Nasralla (“Jimmy”) living in a tent behind Bed, Bath and Beyond at 8959 Tampa in Northridge.

Dear Councilmember Smith,

You know of this situation as your staff directed Mr. Nasralla to talk to your staffer, Mr. Dellinger some months ago, who ordered Mr. Nasralla to move.

Mr. Nasralla has been cited for violation of CA Penal Code 647(j), “Lodging on private property without permission” by the Union Pacific Police Department. The case number is 95R02362 and he is due in the San Fernando Court in Sylmar on July 1, 2009.

Mr. Naser Nasralla, a legal Palestinian immigrant, has been living on that small bridge over the flood control channel behind the Bed, Bath and Beyond store for three years. He tends to the area and keeps it clean. He also has several cats that live with him. He or his cats harm no one, and there are no nearby residences.

However, Mr. Nasralla is not living on private or City property.

That property is parcel number 2783-028-902 and is owned by LA County Flood Control District. It is not owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Please, see attached maps and property descriptions.

The railroad may have had an easement at one time to cross the LACFCD land, but it never had ownership rights, only easement rights. Since Union Pacific abandoned that spur (which goes to Chatsworth station) 37 years ago, even that easement would be dead.

Mary Cummins would be willing to make this statement in a court of law.

The LA animal community is well aware that the West Valley appears to be the center of the LA Animal Cruelty Task Force’s was on “animal hoarders,” pursuing and harassing them for any number of alleged violations, such as animal neglect or violation of the City’s kennel law (M.C. 53.50). The cats are routinely rounded up and then euthanized at the shelter. The survival rate for such cats “rescued” from alleged hoarders is well under 50%.

These tactics concern all animal rescuers in the City because one cannot rescue animals, either by taking them from the City’s shelters and then adopting them out, or by taking them from the street, without having more than three cats on hand at any one time.

Therefore, cases like that of Mr. Nasralla become focal points of the animal community’s interest because each such case becomes a measure of the City’s attitude towards members of the animal community, the pet-owning public as a whole, and towards animals in general.

It would be unfortunate if the City continues to try to remove Mr. Nasralla from County property where they have no jurisdiction.

In addition, the 2006 court decision on Jones vs. the City of Los Angeles is certainly applicable to Mr. Nasralla’s situation. The court imposed atrong restrictions against jailing homeless people for sleeping on public property and viewing it as a violation of their Eighth Amendment rights.


Edward Muzika, Ph.D.


Anonymous said...

Tragic. I've seen how much work he put into the cat shelter he created on Tampa, near Pier One, and the shelters he built by the railroad tracks in back of the sizzler steak house. The one in back of sizzler isn't there anymore, but suddlenly the one across the street appeared. I kind of had a feeling that was Jimmy's tent in the back of B-B & B. You can see it from off Tampa.

Those railroad and B & B cats need him. It gets so hot during the summer and those cats have no one else but him to care for them.

Please God, don't let Jimmy lose his home and don't let those cats lose Jimmy! Help him, God, please help him.

Anonymous said...

Do you know about LA Trappers?

Contact Sandra Harrison at latrappers@yahoogroups.com

She is an incredible, in the gutter, in the trenches, grass-roots rescuer and networks with other incredible well-known rescuers like Ben Lehrer, Missy Woodward, Christi Metropole, Carole Fowler, Cat Connection, Krazy for Katz people, Fixnation, etc.

Maybe the LA Trappers can help somehow. Send her your post about Jimmy's situation and these pictures.

She'll crosspost them to other rescuers who live in the valley near where Jimmy and his cats are. A lot of people are overloaded, but some will still go over to assess the situation and try to help in any way they can.

Doesn't hurt to try.