A 79-year-old woman was sentenced to and narrowly avoided a 10-day jail sentence. Her crime? Feeding stray cats in her neighborhood.
Nancy Segula of Garfield Heights, Ohio was interviewed by CNN and explained that she noticed stray cats showing up around her house a few years ago. Her neighbor had moved away but left their cats behind. Nancy calls herself an animal lover and felt that she had a responsibility to take care of them and feed them.
Feeding the abandoned cats might seem like a harmless act of kindness but in Garfield Heights – it’s actually illegal. The town has a law in place that prohibits feeding stray dogs and cats.
Neighbors complained about Nancy feeding the cats and she was given a citation in 2017. However, this wasn’t her first citation – she had received four in the past 4 years.
City Law Director Tim Riley says that problems with Nancy began back in 2015 and was sentenced to two-years probation in 2017 after receiving multiple complaints and citations. Her charges included having too many animals and not disposing of their waste that was often found in other neighbors’ yards. She was also told not to feed the strays anymore – which she agreed to – then ignored.
“I would always feed them and care for them because I was worried about them and I’m a cat lover. Once my neighbors got upset about it, they called the animal warden,” she said.
In May of 2019, she received a 10-day jail sentence which was soon suspended on the agreement that she would no longer feed the cats. However, it wasn’t long until she received another complaint and citation and sentenced again to the jail time which would start on August 11, 2019.
In addition to the sentencing, 22 cats were removed from Nancy’s home.
“I’m sure people hear about the things that happen downtown in that jail. And they are going to let my 79-year-old mother go there?” said her son, Dave Pawlowski.
Nancy, too, thought her punishment was too severe for the crime.
“It’s too much of a sentence for me for what I’m doing, when there are so many people out there that do bad things,” she said.
Nancy received another day in court and was able to plead her case to the judge once again.
“Even though I love cats, I don’t want to have to get into any more trouble,” she said at Garfield Heights Municipal Court on Tuesday, according to WOIO.
“It began in 2017 with me feeding stray kitties. I used to have a neighbor that had a couple cats and he moved away, so he left them,” Segula told Fox 8 at the time. “I would always feed them and care for them because I was worried about them and I’m a cat lover.”
Her story went viral after the sentencing and has once again said she would no longer feed the cats in order to avoid jail time.
What do you think about this situation? Does she deserve to keep avoiding jail time due to the nature of the crimes? Or should she be forced to serve out her sentence despite her age?
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