Elderly Woman, 79, Sentenced To Jail For Feeding Stray Cats: "I'm Lonely, The Kitties Outside Help Me"

Elderly Woman, 79, Sentenced To Jail For Feeding Stray Cats: "I'm Lonely, The Kitties Outside Help Me"

Nancy Segula's punishment seems harsh considering she was only feeding the strays as she missed her own kittens.

A 79-year-old woman from Ohio has been sentenced to jail for her love of cats. While it may sound bizarre, it is sadly true that Nancy Segula is now facing jail time for feeding her local stray cats. While the elderly woman takes great pleasure in caring for these strays, her neighbors don't seem quite as thrilled about it reports PEOPLE. The Garfield Heights, Ohio-based pensioner told CNN affiliate WJW how these cats started appearing at her doorsteps a few years ago after her neighbor moved away heartlessly leaving his cats behind. Due to her love for these feline creatures, she could not turn them away. 


Explaining how it all started she told Fox 8 Cleveland, "I used to have a neighbor that had a couple cats and he moved away, so he left them. 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." Feeding a bunch of strays does not seem like that great of an offense simply because several people across the country practice it. However, in the Garfield Heights, it is apparently illegal to feed any stray dogs or cats. 


When the complaints did not stop, the animal warden had to order her to remove the cats from her area "and advised her of the city ordinance prohibiting feeding strays" read the statement posted by the Garfield Heights Police Department on Facebook. Segula started receiving citations after her neighbors reported her activities to the animal warden in 2017. But according to Tim Riley, the city Law Director claimed that these citations started way back in 2015 and that Segula has already received more than four of those in the past four years. After being convicted of her offense following the citation in 2015, she was sentenced to two-year probation in 2017 as the citations kept coming in. She was given a 10-day prison sentence at her probation hearing but it was later suspended with the knowledge that she had stopped feeding the animals. However, she continued defying these orders.


When Fox 8 Cleveland asked Segula why she had risked so much just to feed some random cats, she simply said, "I'm a cat lover." Despite the orders, she continued catering to the strays' needs and so now she has been sentenced to jail time of 10 days at the Cuyahoga County Jail which starts from August 11 for "contempt of court".  Riley informed how 22 cats were removed from her place. Luckily, Segula will be getting another chance for her offense to be judged as Jennifer Weiler, the Garfield Heights Municipal Court Judge who was supposed to hear her case last week could not be there and a magistrate had to take over. 


Weiler informed WJW that she has now ordered for a new session. She wants to make make a fair verdict after hearing the story from both the parties. Talking to Cleveland.com, she revealed the emotional reason behind committing this offense. "I miss my own kitties, they passed away, my husband passed away. I’m lonely. So the cats and kitties outside help me," said Segula. "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 CNN. Even her family was appalled after they heard about this ridiculous decision.


According to Dave Pawlowski, Segula's son the punishment seemed to be a bit too harsh for simply feeding animals. "I couldn’t believe what my mother was telling me. She gets 10 days in the county jail, I couldn’t believe it," Pawlowski 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?"


To this Riley expressed, "Our department and the city as a whole recognize that many are passionate about animals and pets in general. We are also aware that many do not feel the same way." Segula violated the City Ordinance 505.23 which stops one from feeding strays and such "violation of this ordinance often results in a large number of cats moving into one area and thereby creating a nuisance for neighbors, which happened in this matter," informed the authorities.


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