She’s 79 and sentenced to jail. Her crime: Feeding stray neighborhood cats
Lauren M. Johnson, CNN
(CNN) — In a town with the same name as a famous fictional cat, a 79-year-old woman is sentenced to jail time for feeding stray cats.
Nancy Segula of Garfield Heights, Ohio, told CNN affiliate WJW that the animals started showing up a few years ago after a neighbor moved away and left his cats.
Being a cat lover, she was worried about them and started feeding them.
It may not seem like a big deal, and it’s something people do across the country, but it’s illegal to feed stray cats or dogs in Garfield Heights. Neighbors complained and called the animal warden, and Segula started receiving citations for the offense in 2017.
She’s received four over the past two years; the most recent one asked her to appear in court, where she was sentenced to 10 days in the Cuyahoga County Jail starting August 11.
However, Segula is getting another day in court. Garfield Heights Municipal Court Judge Jennifer Weiler was supposed to hear her case last week but was away, and the magistrate took over. Weiler told WJW that she has ordered a new hearing so she can hear from both sides.
Neither the animal warden nor the city responded to CNN’s requests for comment.
Segula’s family was shocked and upset when they first heard the sentence.
“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.
Segula also thinks the punishment is too severe for simply helping animals.
“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.