A 76-year-old pensioner from Gainesville has been jailed for feeding nine stray cats and refusing to pay the fine for the offense, calling it “unjust.”
David Parton sat in the Cooke County Correctional Center for nine days, as he refused to pay $900 in fines for illegally feeding stray cats in Gainesville.
Parton told CBS 11 News, “God told me to keep feeding them and leave the consequences to Him,” while regarding the fine he added, “Oh, no, if I had a million dollars I wouldn’t have paid it Hell, no. No! And I told them I’d sit it out in jail. I did, that’s why I went to jail, I wouldn’t pay the fine. That law is not right.”
While he sat in jail, a number of the locations where Parton fed the cats were boarded up, so that when he is released, there will be no stray cats left to feed at all.
Parton’s love for the stray cats got the attention of Alley Cats Allies, an animal rights group that hired the Gainesville law firm of Tatum Erlandson & Neu to write a whole new stray animal code.
According to one of the founders of the organization, Eric Erlandson, “It seems really severe that someone would spend any time in jail at all for doing something that was compassionate. There aren’t any ordinances that actually help the animals. It seems like they’re all out there to punish people for them (animals).”
As far as the Mayor of the city Jim Goldsworthy is concerned, feeding stray cats is not a good idea, even if God did tell you to do it
“Because when we feed these animals in stray-type situations, not only are we promoting those populations of cats and dogs but we’re attracting skunks and raccoons and possums and all the other critters that come with that.”
In conclusion, David Parton remained adamant about his decision to feed the stray cats, despite the consequences, “So my responsibility was simply to do what God said: keep feeding them.”