In Ohio, an older woman in 2019 was sentenced to jail in a case that raised questions about whether the judge’s sentence really fits the crime. Nancy Segula, age 79, has been a resident of Garfield Heights for over 30 years. Nancy recently experienced Edward’s heartbreaking loss, her beloved husband, with whom she spent so much of her life. To help her cope with her grief, Nancy started feeding a few stray cats that dropped by from time to time.
‘I miss my own kitties. They passed away, my husband passed away. I’m lonely. So the cats and kitties outside help me,’ Nancy told cleveland.com.
Nancy estimates that she feeds anywhere from seven to eight stray cats and their kittens who live not far from her home. She’s told local media outlets that a neighbor abandoned some of the cats after they moved away. Feeling sorry for the animals, she started giving them food regularly. While most would commend Nancy for her compassionate gesture, others believe she’s creating a very annoying public health problem. You see, the local law in Nancy’s city prohibits folks from feeding stray dogs and cats, listing the offense as a misdemeanor. And despite the elderly widow’s best intentions, her feeding stray cats are also causing problems, most notably, overpopulation and making it more difficult to trap these animals.
Bonnie Hacket, who works as a local animal warden, said that Nancy’s neighbors complain all the time about the cats she feeds and that she’s personally trapped over 20 cats in that neighborhood.
According to Warden Hackett, Nancy chose to defy court orders to cease feeding the animals several times since 2015. And because of her actions, the older woman was recently sentenced to serve 10 days in the county jail for contempt of court.
Since the judge handed down her sentence, Nancy did everything she could to avoid being thrown in jail. The widow was terrified of the prospect of spending even a day in jail, and her son, David Pawlowski, felt the same. Pawlowski talked to WKBN27 about recent problems related to the jail that his mom was scheduled to report to jail on August 11th, 2019.
In a bid to avoid jail, Nancy contacted Amy Beichler, executive director of Paws, Ohio. Amy later told reporters that her organization and another rescue group were working together to trap all of the cats and prepare them for adoption.
Thankfully, Nancy’s story had a happy ending as on August 6, 2019, Garfield Heights Municipal Court Judge Jennifer Weiler vacated the widow’s sentence, but warned her again not to feed any more strays and recommended that Nancy seeks treatment for depression.For more on this story, you can also watch the video.