Seeing the hungry stray cats broke the heart of Nancy Segula. These stray cats started visiting her Garfield Heights, Ohio home way back in 2017.
Nancy is a 79-year-old widow and has been living in this house for over three decades. She always loved cats so when this group started visiting her and gathered at her back porch, she was more than happy to feed their hungry tummies.
Nancy was first feeding about six to eight adult cats. Eventually, there were kittens too! But she kept providing them with food and water because she cared and worried about them. She cant take all so she just kept feeding them. During her interview with Cleveland.com, she said that she missed her own cats as they passed away after her husband died. She explained, “I’m lonely. So the cats and kitties outside help me.”
She added, “It began in 2017 with me feeding stray kitties. I used to have a neighbor that had a couple of cats and he moved away, so he left them. I would always feed them and care for them because I was worried about them and I’m a cat lover.”
Time passed and Nancy’s neighbors started to complain. It is illegal to feed stray dogs and cats in her town. But Nancy explained that she tried contacting local shelters to see if they would be able to help her with these cats, but nobody responded.
Her furious neighbors started to contact the animal warden. The kind widow received her first citation in 2017. She ended up paying four fines before the judge gave her sentence that she and her family never expected to hear. Everyone was insisting that the punishment does not fit the crime! The old woman only wanted to help these poor cats. What’s wrong with that? Well, simply because it is illegal to do so.
She was sentenced to jail time for her kindness towards these cats!
She was sentenced to 10 days for contempt of court charges for feeding these stray and feral cats. Her sentence gained massive backlash on social media. Even the national news picked up the story! In response to this controversy, the Garfield Heights Police Department posted on Facebook their side of the story.
The police department explained that Segula has been cited on multiple occasions since 2015. This is for violating multiple court orders. Ther concerns had been all about cat feces, the urine smell, and even dead cats have been found on her property. The city animal warden ended up removing 22 cats from her property and brought them to the local animal rescue group, Forever Friends.
Since her sentencing, the Forever Friends had been working to trap and capture these cats and kittens who relied on Segula’s food and water. They noted on Facebook that they practiced a trap-neuter-return method to humanely control these stray and feral cats.
Everyone is thankful that her jail time was suspended after her case drew so much attention. Instead of spending 10 days behind bars, she must attend health counseling and have to make changes to her property to deter these stray cats. Segula said, “Even though I love cats, I don’t want to have to get into any more trouble.”