No Jail Time for 79-Year-Old Woman Who Fed Stray Cats

But Nancy Segula will still need to rein in her "compassion for cats."


Nancy Segula of Garfield Heights, Ohio, will not be jailed for her love of cats.

As Reason previously reported, the 79-year-old woman found solace in strays following the deaths of her husband and two beloved pet cats. For four years, Segula has regularly fed the animals, who were increasingly drawn to her home because of her kind gesture.

This put Segula in violation of Garfield Heights City Ordinance 505.23, which classifies the movement of a large number of cats to an area as a public nuisance. In four years, animal control moved 22 cats from her home and neighbors complained about the conditions.

Two weeks ago, a city magistrate sentenced Segula to spend 10 days in jail for repeated violations of the ordinance and associated court orders.

But on Tuesday, a different official—Garfield Heights Municipal Court Judge Jennifer Weiler—suspended the jail sentence. Weiler was off work when Segula was sentenced.

When Weiler asked why Segula continuously violated her court orders, Segula replied that she has a "compassion for cats" and "just felt bad" when they would approach her porch in search of resources.

Segula will be required to remove the shelters she has in place for the strays and, once again, stop feeding them. Should Segula violate this order, Weiler advised that she would spend time in jail.

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  1. Brian Setzer and the boys must have really fallen on hard times

    1. Strutting isn’t what it use to be.

  2. No jail time? We are now a lawless society.

  3. “and this time we really, really, mean it.” Stop or go to jail. Seriously.
    No matter who is on vacation, in you go. Next time for sure.

    A long time ago, on a planet much like this one, but with logic, I used to respect the laws.

  4. I heard the cops showed up, realized there were no dogs to murder and went home.

    1. Yeah, cats are mostly too small and not interested in strangers. Not enough time to take careful aim,and that would falsify the “I feared for my life” panicky narrative anyway.

      1. Plus, it takes 9 rounds

        1. Lol almost spilled coffee on my keyboard

  5. When Weiler asked why Segula continuously violated her court orders, Segula replied that she has a “compassion for cats” and “just felt bad” when they would approach her porch in search of resources.

    When asked why X murdered immigrants, X replied that he has a “compassion for whites” and “just felt bad” when non-whites would approach his country in search of resources.

    1. “When asked why X murdered immigrants, X replied that he has a “compassion for whites” and “just felt bad” when non-whites would approach his country in search of resources.”

      Real slick, Dick. Is “Rich” your name or are you just flaunting your financial status and by extension your obvious white privilege? Be sure to add that to your manifesto.

  6. I’m no lawyer but reading the City’s ordinances it states that she could be forced to pay 150.00. Its a minor misdemeanor. No jail time allowed. I would even question the judges authority to force her to remove the shelters. The law is clear. Also if she testifies that the animals are hers. All bets are off. The city can pound sand someplace.

    1. I DO hope you are correct!

    2. “Also if she testifies that the animals are hers. All bets are off.”

      What, and face the penalty for 22 unlicensed cats!?

      1. catch-or-release-22

        1. All the cats have a share

    3. What if she doesn’t pay the fine?

    4. Damn right you are no lawyer.
      The jail time is for violating a court order, not for the cats that led to the court order.

  7. Seeing that many localities passed laws criminalizing handing out sandwiches, money, or even offering free haircuts to the homeless, why are we surprised at laws like this? I mean, they are just cats….. right? As for me, I would take the side of the cat, even a homeless one, over the side of those politicians who actually take the time to craft laws like this with which to threaten some elderly lady with jail time for feeding cats. Geez.

    1. I want to live in the place where handing out money to the homeless is illegal.

      1. Donating money to person is, according to at least one federal court, freedom of speech, and protected by the first amendment, just as are political donations.

    2. Cats vs. government? I’ll take the side of the cats every day and twice on Sunday.

      1. Yup. My cats all live together, somehow never hurt each other, are polite when being fed, don’t fight over which litter-box is the best, and yet remain very independent. The perfect libertarians?

  8. Interested article. Thanks for sharing. –Core Java syllabus

  9. Oh, the merciful state gets shamed into lessening the weight of the boot on the 79 year-old citizen’s osteoporotic neck. This backing down will only serve to embolden serial feeders.

    1. “serial [cat] feeders.” Love it!

      Serial cat feeders obviously represent a “clear and present danger.”

      1. That “Crazy Old Cat Lady” is just a… “Serial Girl”!

        1. Is that somehow related to an “analog girl?”

  10. I can’t claim to know for sure what the judge would have done if the crazy cat person was an ugly middle-aged woman, or (Lord forbid) a creepy-looking man, rather than a gentle elderly widow.

    Exempting Garfield Heights from my critique, I’ll say that in most places, a lonely white-haired widow (who probably calls people “deary”) has a sympathy factor which could lead to lighter sentences.

  11. And, as I’m not the first to observe…

    Huh-huh, Garfield Heights.

    1. I completely and utterly missed that. I am ashamed of myself. I will blame it on a lack of coffee.

      1. Eat more lasagna – – – –

        1. or manicotti?

  12. Since women seldom get substantial sentences or even any no matter how serious and vicious a crime they commit I naturally expected she would do actual time since she was being benevolent and kind.

    1. Kindly Women: Coming to ID this January!

  13. What a travesty of justice this is!
    This woman had no license much less a permit to feed stray cats.
    Now these cats will be fed which will only result in mouse hunting, purring and being petted arbitrarily.
    Didn’t the judge take these factors into considering when dishing out his sentence?
    America is going to hell in a hand basket quicker than you think, pal!

  14. Something most people don’t know: stray/feral cats, and small dogs, are society’s best defense against the most numerous, fertile and destructive “invasive” animals on the planet — rodents! Specifically rats and mice. Rats and mice destroy *20% of all harvested food*, besides destroying property and structures and spreading diseases which can kill humans. The infamous Black Plague, spread by rats, killed one-third of the population of Europe during the 1300s. As if that weren’t enough, rats are quite willing to *eat human flesh* if they can get it. This is what all those stray cats and dogs protect us from. Jail time? That old lady should be given a medal.

    1. Lots of stray cats and dogs in Ukraine where the people (mostly old women) feed them and care for them the best they can. Businesses will even out blankets and beds inside their doors in the winter for them to give them a warm place to sleep. I have yet to see a rat or mouse here.

    2. Were there no cats then? Of course there were and there was still a plague.
      Swing and a miss.

  15. Send those cats to Baltimore, where there are plenty of rats to eat.

  16. Stray cats carry feline leukemia in high percentages. It’s quite often a death sentence and easily spread when cats amass in numbers. The kittens from infected mothers are born with it.
    This lady is an ignorant ass and should have went to jail.

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