Woman, 79, sentenced to jail time for feeding stray cats

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A 79-year-old Ohio woman was sentenced to 10 days in jail for feeding stray cats.

Nancy Segula, of Garfield Heights, Ohio began feeding the cats about two years ago when they showed up on her back porch, Fox 8 Cleveland reported. That’s also when she received her first citation in 2017. 

“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 the station. “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."

After that, she received a total of four citations, Segula told Fox 8. 

Last week, her most recent citation required her to appear before the Magistrate Jeffrey Short, who sentenced her to 10 days in the Cuyahoga County Jail. 

“I couldn’t believe what my mother was telling me. She gets 10 days in the county jail, I couldn’t believe it,” Dave Pawlowski, her son, told Fox 8. “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?”

Under a city ordinance, it is illegal to feed stray dogs and cats in Garfield Heights, the report said. 

But Segula feels the punishment doesn’t fit 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 told the station. 

Bonnie Hackett, the Garfield Heights dog warden, told Fox 8 that she doesn’t believe that Segula is helping the cats.

“She’s feeding them, so that’s helpful in her eyes. But it’s not helping the cats to stay healthy. The cats are out there, roaming the area. They’re not vaccinated. They have no rabies shots... They’re out there amongst other wildlife at night. And so it’s actually hindering the animals, instead of helping the animals.” 

Segula is scheduled to report to the county jail on Aug. 11.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.