Big Government

A 79-Year-Old Woman Receives a Jail Sentence for Feeding Stray Cats

"I'm an animal lover, and I feel guilty that they're wandering around out there and they have nothing to eat."

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Nancy Segula of Garfield Heights has a soft spot for stray cats, which have been a comfort to her in the wake of her husband's passing and the loss of her own two cats. For the past four years, Segula has regularly fed the strays that approach her home. 

"I'm an animal lover, and I feel guilty that they're wandering around out there and they have nothing to eat," the 79-year-old woman told WKYC. "So I just feel that I need to give them food."

Despite Segula's good intentions, her actions violate Garfield Heights City Ordinance 505.23, which states that moving a large number of cats into an area is a public nuisance. Garfield Heights animal warden Bonnie Hackett said that in four years, 22 cats were removed from Segula's home.

Because of her continued violations of the ordinance, Segula was sentenced last week to spend 10 days in jail.

The police department released a statement on Facebook about the case. The animal warden received "numerous complaints" about the stray cats attracted to the area, it explains. Segula was unaware of the ordinance until she was first cited for the matter in 2015; she also received citations for having too many cats in her residence and failing to properly dispose of animal waste.

Segula was placed on two years probation following a citation in 2017. One of the conditions of her probation was to stop feeding strays. When it was discovered at a May 2019 probation hearing that she did not comply, she received the 10-day jail sentence. The sentence was suspended contingent on her complying with the order. When the magistrate who heard her case learned last week that Segula was still feeding too many kitties, he ordered Segula jailed. 

Following a public outcry, Garfield Heights Municipal Court Judge Jennifer Weiler said that she wanted to take another look at the case. Weiler, who placed the conditions on Segula's suspended sentence, was off work when a magistrate found Segula in violation. 

Weiler will preside over Segula's new hearing, which is scheduled for August 6.

Segula's actions are clearly creating a nuisance for her neighbors. But while police are justified in responding to their complaints, it is not beyond the realm of possibilities for the court system to find a more humane approach than incarceration. After all, Segula's 10-day jail sentence is longer than the punishments given for other, much more heinous animal-related offenses that have occurred in the area, including starving dogs, the strangulation of a cat, and leaving kittens in a hot car. And when it's over, is there any reason to think she won't do what she's done after every other intervention, and go back to feeding the cats?

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  1. Yes, they should kill the cats

    1. Bear in mind that where you have stray cats and dogs, you have far fewer rats and mice. Seeing that rats and mice destroy (USDA stats) as much as *20% of all harvested food*, it’s better to keep the cats and dogs around.

      1. Other than the large number of zoological diseases that stray cats and dogs, including rabies, can carry, the predation on domestic livestock (stray dogs are among the biggest killers of sheep and goats, as well as domestic poultry killed by both cats and dogs), the severe impact on native bird, amphibian, lizard etc populations, transfer of diseases to other cats and canines (both domestic and wild), stray dogs being responsible for a number of attacks and killings of humans, especially children, contamination of ground water and surface water from large amounts of urine and feces, etc, you almost have a point.

        1. lol you should pull up your skirts and hide inside your house. Mother nature will figure out which animals are going to make it. They don’t need help from you cat murderer.

          1. Mother nature will figure out which animals are going to make it. They don’t need help from you cat murderer.

            So it Mother nature’s cool with piling up a mountain of bodies then a few dozen more on the pile is no big deal!

    2. The sentence wasn’t nearly long enough. Feeding stray cats creates a public menace! Feed them and they create new cats which can breed still more cats in 6 months, until you have an absolute CATastrophe blighting your hood! If you won’t kill them, at least don’t feed them and they’ll stay to the shadows and kill rats for their dinner.

    3. I don’t have any problem with her feeding the cats. I have a problem with government preventing people from shootng the cats. If shooting weren’t forbidden, there would be fewer cats. Problem solved. If any are that are unshot (and undead), she can feed them. Until someone shoots them. At which point there wouldn’t be any reason to feed them – because they’re dead – but if she did, then she needs time in a nut house, not a jail.

  2. Hmmm…a fair-minded presentation of the govt’s case…it actually makes the imprisonment look less shocking.

    1. I have a personal theory that one’s enthusiasm for MYOB and live-and-let-live and libertarianism in general is inversely proportional to one’s personal experiences with Crazy Cat Ladies or Junk Hoarders.

      Zuri might have grown next door to the local cat rancher which would help explain the even-handed tone.

  3. bars because cats fuck you Garfield Heights.

    >>Garfield Heights

    Onion?

    1. Cartoon Garfield does like to eat pizza; I know this from the very few times I have read the cartoon (I think it’s mostly kinda lame).

      But… Onion? On his pizza? I can’t imagine a cat liking to eat onion!

      1. Lasagna not pizza…what *did* they teach you at that superstitious clinger school you attended?

        1. 🙂 … Ooops!!! My bad, you’re right… All those Italian foods, or vaguely Italian-derived foods… They all look the same to me!!!

          I hope that statement doesn’t make me a horrible racist!!! Note that I did ***NOT*** say to “send them back to where they came from”, mainly because I do like to eat them here in the USA!

          1. Like to eat them here? ????
            Canibal?

            1. I would eat them on a boat,
              I would eat them with a goat!

              (But no, I am NOT an Italian food, and I resemble that remark!)

  4. “I’m an animal lover, and I feel guilty that they’re wandering around out there and they have nothing to eat,”

    Sorry, lady, but they don’t really need your help.

    is there any reason to think she won’t do what she’s done after every other intervention, and go back to feeding the cats?

    No, because that’s what crazy cat ladies do.

  5. No place for crazy cat ladies in Garfield Heights, eh?

    God I’m glad I don’t live in town. People, in any collective sense, just plain suck.

  6. I like to feed the wild pussies, too!!! Boy, do I ever!
    (Now I have catch scratch fever).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I47floRRAFs

    I make the pussy purr with the stroke of my hand
    They know they gettin’ it from me
    They know just where to go
    When they need their lovin’ man
    They know I do it for free

  7. “Segula’s actions are clearly creating a nuisance for her neighbors.”

    I would vehemently disagree with this statement. Her actions are clearly trying to deal with a nuisance her irresponsible pet owning neighbors have created. I have lived in multiple apartment complexes over the past few decades. Every one of them has a major stray cat problem. Like Ms. Seguila, I try to feed the strays that come around. They are domesticated animals (despite being born in the wild) and are not adept hunter’s. By feeding them, I am attempting to curtail their getting into the trash or killing birds.

    Your cat is your pet, not the neighborhood’s. Keep your pet inside your home. If you cannot do this, at the very least make sure it is spayed/neutered.

    1. Her actions are clearly trying to deal with a nuisance her irresponsible pet owning neighbors have created.

      Where did you find this information?

      I have lived in multiple apartment complexes over the past few decades. Every one of them has a major stray cat problem.

      I see, your experience is the norm.

      They are domesticated animals (despite being born in the wild) and are not adept hunter’s.

      You’ve never actually seen a cat, have you?

    2. Cats are very efficient hunters, maybe to good. You’ve obviously never seen a barn cat.

  8. Brian Setzer hit hardest.

  9. This article makes me want to go out and feed some hungry cats. Just because.

    1. When feeding stray cats is outlawed, only outlaws will feed stray cats

  10. Chicken livers + rat poison. A feral cat meal made in heaven.

  11. OK Zuri, you got me with the clickbait.
    True headline:
    “Woman jailed for 10 days for parole violation”
    I guess that one just did not get out of the focus group – – – – – –

    1. Exactly. After several warnings. “Fed cats and went to jail!” is about the least honest way to frame this story.

  12. After all, Segula’s 10-day jail sentence is longer than the punishments given for other, much more heinous animal-related offenses that have occurred in the area, including starving dogs, the strangulation of a cat, and leaving kittens in a hot car.

    Did I miss the stories where the law punished someone for strangling a cat and for leaving kittens in a hot car? Because fuck those heinous douchebags amiright?

    1. when you abuse animals to the point where they die, isn’t having them die punishment enough?!?!

      1. Only if you’re really doting.

  13. It would be nice if we could fine the city council for feeding stray humans.

  14. Weiler, who placed the conditions on Segula’s suspended sentence, was off work when a magistrate found Segula in violation.

    Sounds like the judge has been protecting her from the bureaucracy for a while now.

  15. Crazy cat lady is still crazy. She’s actively creating negative externalities. harmful externalities. She is knowingly violating the NAP against her neighbors.

    1. if crazy is she knowingly doing anything?

  16. Serves her right.
    She didn’t have a license to feed cats.
    If she had a license to feed cats, then she would know feeding stray cats only makes them sleep, chase mice and fornicate in public. The next thing you, these cats will be joining the Knights of Columbus or petition to become Masons, and we all know what that leads to!

  17. Heaven forbid that anyone work with her to trap, spay/neuter, and release them. After all, they are coming from somewhere, so the community should help deal with it.

    1. Trap, spay/neuter and release is considered by many biologist to be destructive to the environment, detrimental to local wildlife and a danger to domestic pets.

      1. really? which domestic pets do stray cats pose a threat to?

      2. He said without any supporting arguments.

  18. So-called outside cats, and feral or stray cats are a pest and should be treated accordingly. That woman got what she deserves.

    1. You are a pest but we don’t banish you…..

  19. My God. Talk about stupidity.

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