A woman living in Northeast D.C. is suing the Maryland-based management company CIH Properties, which operates at least 12 apartment complexes in D.C., most of which are in Wards 7 and 8.
In her suit, the woman,LaWanda Souder, claims that the company’s failure to address maintenance concerns resulted in second- and third-degree burns on her foot, and is asking the company to compensate her for the injuries. A copy of the suit’s housing code violations addendum indicates Souder’s unit is in disrepair. She reports having broken windows, cracks and holes in the walls, insect infestations, inadequate ventilation and broken electrical outlets, among other issues.
She also says an unnamed employee of the company dug up her “beautiful, loving cat” named Nakyia, which had recently died and which Souder buried “on government” property.
“When they found out [about my cat], they took it upon themselves to dig up the cat out of the yard and throw it in the trash,” Souder writes in her complaint. “I never once intended to do [that], because I would have felt guilty.”
She writes that, when staff told her about the property manager’s actions, she “broke down!”
“Sad of them,” she concludes. (D.C.’s Municipal Regulations for Animal Control does not have a section about cats, and doesn’t mention what to do with deceased animals. The Department of Public Works collects dead animals from public spaces.)
A spokesperson for CIH noted that the D.C. Housing Authority oversees Souder’s building, Lincoln Road, and directed City Paper to the Authority for comment. A spokesman for the agency said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation and isn’t named in the lawsuit, but is nonetheless “committed to providing safe environments for all of its customers.”