79-Year-Old Woman Sentenced To Jail For Feeding Stray Cats

Nelson Mandela's old prison cell on December 3, 2009 in Robben Island, South Africa.
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An elderly Ohio woman has been sentenced to 10 days in jail for feeding stray cats.

Nancy Segula, who lives in the Garfield Heights area, has been feeding stray cats for a couple of years, after they began showing up on her back porch. Interestingly, feeding stray cats and dogs is against the law in Garfield Heights, and even after repeated warnings, Segula still feeds the cats.

The cats may have appreciated the gesture, but Segula’s neighbors did not.

“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 WJW.

“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.”

Segula received her first citation in 2017. She has received four citations since then and continues to feed the cats.

Last week, Segula appeared before Magistrate Jeffrey Short, when he ordered her to jail for contempt of court and sentenced her to serve 10 days.

Bonnie Hackett, animal warden for Garfield Heights, told WJW that she has attempted to work with Segula about the cat issue for four years, adding that there have been numerous complaints from neighbors asking for help.

Hackett said that the matter was a health issue. She also said that she has caught 22 cats in the area already and was aware that there were 10 to 12 more cats.

Segula believes the punishment is too harsh for 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 said.

Segula’s son, Dave Pawlowski, agreed with his mother. He told WJW that he could not believe it when she told him she would have to spend time in jail. He also said that people hear about all kinds of bad things that happen in the county jail, yet they were going to send a 79-year-old there.

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But there is a hope that Segula might be able to avoid that sentence.

WJW reported that Municipal Court Judge Jennifer Weiler will issue a new hearing in Segula’s case so that she could hear from all sides involved. Weiler said the magistrate that initially heard Segula’s case did so because she was off work.

Segula’s hearing is slated for 11 a.m. on August 6.