DIXFIELD — The town of Dixfield and a group of cat caretakers have sued the trustees of a woman’s estate in a long-running dispute over her wish that her life savings be used to care for abandoned cats.

Barbara Thorpe died in 2002 and left most of her $200,000 estate to give food, shelter and veterinary care to the stray cats of Dixfield. The Sun Journal reports that only a few thousand dollars have been given for the cats’ care. Lawyers have taken more than $16,000, and the estate’s trustees have gotten over $22,000.

Dixfield and five women who care for the town’s strays sued the trustees last week. The suit says the trustees billed excessive fees to the trust and have failed to carry out Thorpe’s wishes.

The trustees’ attorney says they “vehemently deny any wrongdoing.”

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