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79 Year-Old-Woman Sentenced to 10 Days in Jail for Feeding Stray Cats, Thanks to a City Ordinance

79 Year-Old-Woman Sentenced to 10 Days in Jail for Feeding Stray Cats, Thanks to a City Ordinance

“I miss my own kitties, they passed away, my husband passed away. I’m lonely. So the cats and kitties outside help me.”

Nancy Segula lives in Garfield Heights, Ohio. In 2017 she lost her husband. Around the same time, her neighbors moved and left their outdoor cats behind. Segula began feeding the cats saying she felt bad for them and also enjoyed the company. She told local news that she had reached out to local organizations for help with the cats without any success.

A neighbor called the local animal warden who issued the first citation and placed on probation for violating a city ordinance which prohibits the feeding of stray cats. Three citations later and Segula was handed a 10 day sentence in county lock up.

Garfield Heights Municipal Court Judge Jennifer Weiler was out when Segula was sentenced and indicated she “wants to hear the case herself because of the controversy that has surrounded the outcome,” reports

More from here:

A Garfield Heights ordinance prohibits residents from feeding cats and dogs other than any animals they own, the ordinance says. The ordinance says that residents are encouraged to not set food outside of their home. It’s considered a minor misdemeanor.

Opinions differ on whether feeding stray cats is a good thing or a bad thing. City council and other elected and appointed officials in Garfield Heights declined to discuss the issues surrounding Segula’s case or what prompted the city to pass the ordinance.

The Humane Society of the United States noted in a July 2016 article that while feeding feral and outdoor cats might seem harmful, doing so without spaying or neutering of cats can lead to exploding colony populations which could lead to more and more malnourished animals. There are humane ways to deal with wandering stray cats.

“There’s been about six to eight adult cats and now there’s kittens coming over, too,” Segula told Tuesday. “I miss my own kitties, they passed away, my husband passed away. I’m lonely. So the cats and kitties outside help me.”

The sentence last week by Short marks the fourth time the feeding of stray cats saw Segula stand in court. She thinks the jail sentence is excessive, but admits that she continued to feed the cats despite getting more than $2,000 fines from the municipal court.

A petition has been started demanding “Segula be given a lighter sentence and be allowed to stay home, and end ordinance 505.23 right now!” At the time this post was published 179 people had signed the petition.


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They told her to stop 4 times. And she’s old enough to know better.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to hrhdhd. | August 2, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    She’s keeping the Rats away………


    C. Lashown in reply to hrhdhd. | August 2, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Yeah, yeah… I call bullshit on that. If she were my grandmother or aunty I’d be showing a ton of mercy and grace. The judge might have his laws he needs to enforce, but what good is any law without mercy at the appropriate time? We’re a nation of laws, but laws can be abused by abusive people easily enough. I would say the magistrate was abusive and there was a better way to deal with this ladies in transience. Hell, put her in charge of feeding the kitties down at the local animal shelter…as a volunteer position. It satisfies her addiction to feed kitties and saves the county $$$.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to C. Lashown. | August 2, 2019 at 7:51 pm

      Bet that judge has a pink pussy resistance hat.

      How is it abusive to do a few days in jail after she has been fined four separate times?

      Shall we all now have a “get out of jail free card” by calling any jail penalty “abuse”?

      She could try to get the ordinance modified or overturned, but no, I’m just going to keep breaking the law.

      These are feral cats. If she wants them, she should “adopt” them and bring them into her home and pay to have them spayed or neutered.

        C. Lashown in reply to tz. | August 3, 2019 at 11:35 am

        EXCUSE me, but are you 79 years old, a widow or widower and all alone? How many traffic tickets have you had in your little life, and do you still ‘speed’ when you have the need? You know you could kill someone doing that, or even worse put them in the hospital for 15 years before they died.

        I suggest you shut your pie hole, since it’s obvious you don’t have a clue what your talking about. Damned Fascists! Sadly, you probably consider yourself a ‘true patriot’ or some other inane tag that means nothing without context.

        I’m sure people were lining up at the door of her cell at night, wanting to make sure she took her medications and take the worry off her mind. It’s a well established fact the jails take good care of their people, eh?

        Feed cats? NEVER AGAIN. She’ll wander home, defeated, at the end of 10 days, beaten by the system….her life cut short because of the heartlessness of the judicial system. Everyone has to keep those laws or the earth might come to a stop, the nation crumble.

          Precisely at what age should I be able to violate any law and ordinance and not be held to the proscribed penalty?
          There are protesters in wheelchairs that cause disruption then whine because “How Dare you arrest a cripple!”
          If this woman is senile or otherwise suffering from some form of dimentia, she needs a guardian. If she is not, she is responsble for her actions so needs to be held responsible and pay the penalties for INTENTIONALLY breaking the laws.

          Is an AARP card a “Get out of Jail Free” card now? If so I should make sure I carry mine.

          I’m really sick and tired of having everyone in some less than perfect life situation, and this 79 year old woman seems to be in good shape, have people say “NO!, They should be allowed to break any law because they are special because…”.

      Dejectedhead in reply to C. Lashown. | August 2, 2019 at 10:07 pm

      I take it that you don’t have a lot of experience with the craziness of cat ladies. They can’t be reasoned with.

    Dang, dawg, I feel damn sorry for anyone that’s under your grinding purview within your family circle, and within what I’m sure is a very, very tiny circle of friends. . . if any.

    Colonel Travis in reply to hrhdhd. | August 2, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    They (government) told her to stop and what did they (government) do about it?


    The person in charge of Garfield Heights Animal Control said that if the lady just stopped feeding these cats long ago, there would have been no problem now, which is just idiotic. They would still have gotten food somewhere else and they would keep producing more cats.

    Sorry, this is an example of why government can be 100% Grade A Damn Stupid – so rigid, can’t think outside the box, can’t work with the citizenry and/or animal groups that do understand how to control the population of feral cats.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Colonel Travis. | August 2, 2019 at 7:53 pm


      Seriously though, I bet those cats save the city many times more in pest control than they cost in all other ways.

      Cats fight, but they clean up after themselves in all ways unlike dogs.

      They may be rounding up stray and feral cats. But it is like spraying for mosquitoes where someone wants to leave a tire or something else where they can breed around.

        Colonel Travis in reply to tz. | August 2, 2019 at 9:45 pm

        The most effective thing to do is called trap, neuter and release. It takes care of the breeding. Lots of cities do it, maybe this one has inexplicably never heard of it. Also, it’s not entirely up to the city to do this sort of thing. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that animal groups do much of that work.

        Garfield Heights is a suburb of Cleveland. I find it hard to believe there isn’t a single group in a metro area of 2 million people that can help this lady’s neighborhood.

        C. Lashown in reply to tz. | August 3, 2019 at 11:51 pm

        Damn! You hate stray cats, you hate feral cats, you hate little old ladies who don’t ‘goose step’ through life. History has lessons to show us about these sort of approaches to life.

        I’m thinking of a pretty young girl. Her name was Claretta Petacci. Her last appearance on the world stage found her hanging upside down, by her heels, from a lamp post…being beaten the sticks by her fellow Italians. Oh, don’t worry, she was already dead and couldn’t feel a thing. BUT, the issue is her own countrymen hated her so much they hung her body upside down in public….beating it without mercy.

        It wasn’t just her they hated, but her fellow traveler…Benito Mussolini. She was his whore, but she walked the line, until it vanished.

        Men make laws and men break laws, it’s just the way of all citizens. Wise leaders and wise judges don’t burden people down with grievous petty instructions. What would happen if HALF of Cleveland rebelled and say everyone should start taking care of animals? What’s the self-righteous judge going to do then – throw everyone in jail for 10 days?

        Have you noticed that there is a real difference between China and America in how the laws are applied. In China you can get shot and thrown into a ditch, nobody will say anything…BUT …when they do say something, what does China do? Ever hear of Tiananman Square and the Chinese Independence Movement, hundreds maybe thousands slaughtered? Hong Kong is on the edge right now, what will happen if China decides to kill 10-20 thousand protestors because they broke the law?

        People who enjoy freedom, by their nature, want more of it. People who have freedom aren’t overly interested in little fastidious laws, as seen when you’re given a traffic violation for going 5 miles over the speed limit. Humility ALWAYS kicks the butt of Hubris, talk to the people at Oberlin College.

        Yes, the judge needed to get this woman’s attention…that’s not the issue. The HARSHNESS of his sentencing is the issue. I sincerely hope the Judge can live up to his own standards when the time comes, as I hope you can also. Age and illness gives a certain perspective that youth haven’t learned to appreciate…but most people get to enjoy these sorts of tests a few times before they die.

        Tests, hmmm…what would be a fairly normal test for an American male? How’s your prostate doing? Is the old urethra being choked off because of the 3 dimensional swelling…yet? Wait for that bladder exam, where they stick a video camera up your Willy…without any drugs! YE HAW! Let the good times roll!

        Just another little test for people who think they have everything figured out. Enjoy.

    Close The Fed in reply to hrhdhd. | August 2, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    Melarky. She’s old enough to have lost most of the people she knows of her generation.

    In my community, the local Humane Society would jump in to help, catch all of them, neuter or spay ALL of them, then give her 2 or 3 for companionship, AND give her food for them.

    This is LAW-ITIS.

Where is PETA on this?

Also, the article first says it was just the neighbors’ outdoor cats, which would normally imply one or two. Then at the end it says the feeding has expanded to 6-8 adults plus kittens. That’s already in the realm of public nuisance. Still, jail seems excessive; if lower fines haven’t worked increase them. Or let her adopt one or two rescue cats, and arrange for a future home for them if she should no longer be able to care for them. (Then again, an older person living alone might not want indoor cats. ‘Nuff said.)

Notice throughout how the municipality never dealt with the original problem of the cats. They could have called animal control and rounded up the cats. Then after a well check could have offered her the chance to adopt a few before finding new owners. Instead, screw the old lady and fuck the cats. This is why we hate the government. Just wait until they run healthcare. We will all be cats then.

    CDR D in reply to ghost dog. | August 2, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    ghost dog gets it. Meanwhile Hillary walks around free despite crimes involving National Security.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to ghost dog. | August 2, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Or like an uptight town near me the could pass a law that requires all pussies have to be on a leash – even in your own fenced in yard.

    Then all cats not on a rope, could be pulled in.

    franker in reply to ghost dog. | August 2, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    Totally agree! Some of these Municipalities are run like Fiefdoms because some Parts Manager or something at the Local Honda Dealership got elected Councilman or Mayor or something!

    Now the Moron is on a Power Trip and he’s got his City Attorney (who probably couldn’t get a job at an actual Law Firm) cheering him on!

    Give the lady a break and find a sensible solution for God’s sake!

Who’s to say she hasn’t adopted them already? Seems she’s already the cat carer for these kittehs.

    It says in the article the law exempts cats someone owns. She isn’t asserting ownership (then she might be liable and responsible).

      mailman in reply to tz. | August 3, 2019 at 3:05 am

      Maybe she should claim she is the pets owner…since she seems to be their primary carer to begin with.

      Maybe she also expected the council to show some common fucking sense instead of going full 1939 on her ass? Nah…that would be to much to expect…some common fucking sense being shown by a council who is supposed to be working for HER (assuming she is or has paid what ever town taxes due for the privilege of being managed by the town council).

        Brave Sir Robbin in reply to mailman. | August 3, 2019 at 4:30 am

        Seems to me common sense would dictate a solution where animal control would collect the cats and then send the lady a bill for the government expense. Then, if sufficiently mobile, sentenced to community service to take care of the cats in the shelter. If not sufficiently mobile, or refuse to comply, then a monthly bill for the animals’ upkeep. However, the law here may be an ass and not allow for creative and sensible solutions.

          Interesting how so many bleeding hearts here automatically assume that the government is being evil. I am not cold-hearted. No one had a problem getting the old problem of feral dogs roaming the neighborhoods under control. Control your dog or lose it!

          Feral cats can be a BIGGER problem (and I’m a cat lover) because they breed faster than dogs and unlike dogs, carry parasites that they pass on to humans. So why can’t we insist that cat owners control their cats or lose them? Why can’t we then eradicate feral cats the way we did feral dogs?

          We all know “sweet old ladies” like her. Obviously, she isn’t senile or she wouldn’t have been sentenced to jail. I am certain the judge explained her options several times.

          Being lonely is not an excuse. She could just get another cat or two. Does anyone believe that this wasn’t suggested to her? What was her excuse? Please, I don’t want to hear it. Be an idiot. But be an idiot in jail. If nothing else, it sets an example to deter other idiots from being pig-headed idiots.

I bet Baltimore wishes they had a stray cat problem.

“Lock her up! Lock her up!”

They don’t have this problem down in Florida with the invasive python situation.

But this sort of thing kinda pisses me off, to see old ladies like this getting the sweat-down over something so minor while criminals like Hillary Clintoon and her sycophants skate with thousands of major violations.

A dual-track legal system like this will eventually lead to chaos.

Yeah yeah. The lady is a SCOFFLAW. Cane her! Damn criminals. Good grief. The warden should’ve set traps after the second SCOFFLAW incident. But no. He decided to dig his heels in. Because he’s nothing better to do between breakfast and dinner (and shoving doughnuts into his wardenhole during city mandated work breaks.)

So, when the gaolers toss the old broad into the stripey hole should she be placed into the general pop or do they put her in solitary? I suggest she do what all hardened criminals do; enter the place like a friggin gallows-hardened boss, file down a toothbrush handle and shiv the first ‘effer that crosses her crib-transom. Then, after establishing her gaol bonifides, she can sit back, make some jail hooch and chain smoke unfiltered Pall Malls as she wiles away the last of those nine hard days.

Another news story says they removed 22 cats from her home. That’s more than just a “few”. I have cats and I like cats, but I don’t blame her neighbors for being upset and complaining.

(Why do 3 out of 4 links in this post go to the same article? That kind of thing can get your relevancy lowered in search engines. It looks like spam to them.)

Antifundamentalist | August 2, 2019 at 6:20 pm

It’s her food. She should be able to give it away (to cats, to the homeless) with impunity. If the city has an issue with stray cats, then the city should deal with the stray cats rather than criminalizing compassion.

My across the street neighbor has barn cats. AKA feral cats. For some reason they like to come over to the clump of pines by my driveway to have kittens. But they all head towards the barn in winter. We have fox in our yard, there are coyote across the street. (You won’t normally find both in the same yard- same ecological niche.) And we have various raptors and owls. Not all the kittens make it to adulthood, and few die of old age.

Cats eat mice and voles and other small creatures. Having a few feral cats around isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Feral cats avoid humans. And unlike feral dogs they don’t get big enough to hunt livestock or deer. Having a few around isn’t a bad thing, and if you live in an area with predators that eat them, their population doesn’t get out of control.

Cities and suburbs don’t have a lot of cat eating predators.

    tom_swift in reply to gospace. | August 2, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    I used to have a problem with feral cats crawling into my car’s engine room at night, presumably because it was warm. They’d sleep on top of the battery. Then when I’d start the car they’d jump up, startled, and get caught in the fan belt. And I’d have to untangle mangled carcasses just to drive to work. Hell of a way to start the day.

      snopercod in reply to tom_swift. | August 2, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      Happened to my son, too. The fan belt took her tail clean off.

      MajorWood in reply to tom_swift. | August 2, 2019 at 11:33 pm

      Yes, we called it “the fan club” on our farm.

      This is one of those stories that likely gets told 20 different ways depending on the audience.

      We decided that our farm could support 3 cats through the winter. Problem is that “well meaning” city people would just drop them off all the time, so guess who got to cull the herd every Fall. And we already had 3 cats that we liked, so any that were dropped off did not see Christmas that year.

      In her case, she is also likely feeding rats and coons and God knows what else.

    Sanddog in reply to gospace. | August 2, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    We’ve got a couple of feral cats in the neighborhood. They keep the Prairie Dog population down and help keep other rodents out of the neighborhood. In the winter, during severe weather, I put out food for them. We like having them around.

    C. Lashown in reply to gospace. | August 4, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    re: “Cities and suburbs don’t have a lot of cat eating predators.”

    We must eat at different restaurants.

Lucky bastards. Some towns are overwhelmed with feral bears. Attracted to human habitations by food, of course. Hell, some (not around here, fortunately) have trouble with feral tigers; again, attracted by food.

The very real problem of feral animals is not one to be dealt with by somebody who wants to feel comfy having them around. The very concept of “civilization” means that the individual has to make some accommodation to the orderly and sanitary functioning of society at large.

At the time this post was published 179 people had signed the petition.

That doesn’t sound like an overwhelming number.

Lock her up! (Ok, kidding.)

There is a disease problem with feral cats in Ohio. It’s almost as bad as the feral teen problem in Baltimore.

“Communities find nothing cute about stray or feral felines:”

CaliforniaJimbo | August 2, 2019 at 8:30 pm

Former FBI Director mishandles classified information and demonstrates lack of can do = decline to prosecute.
Sentimental widowed cat lady feeds cats not her own = 10 days in the slammer.

At least she didn’t feed the rats in Baltimore. That would have earn her a twitter blast.

Shakes head

Laws such as this are a very good reason for part time government. Give them a full time job and they’ll come up with the stupidest things.

Leave out a dish of anti-freeze (ethylene glycol). That will solve the stray cat problem.

People who own pets need to be responsible for them, from cleaning up their feces, to insuring they stay on their property. If the cats don’t have collars and licenses, Animal control should just go there and use whatever is the most efficient method of getting rid of them. Feral cats also attack wild birds, so are you a bird hater?

Good, the neighborhood doesn’t have to suffer the epidemic of cat ladies allowing cats to crap all over the place and stink up the neighborhood.

You know how many people are breaking municipal codes right now in that town? Probably damn near all of them.

When a code enforcement officer writes an old woman that many tickets he or more likely she is targeting her because someone’s pissed. Eight cats? Oh my goodness, who will defend the town from the scourge? Ten days in jail is less than I’ve seen for dui. Completely ridiculous.

    franker in reply to forksdad. | August 2, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    Totally agree!

    Hillary walks free after violating Espionage Act!

    Untold number of Illegal Aliens are released to drive drunk again and kill American Citizens!

    Old Lady who has a soft spot for animals goes to jail for feeding cats.

    What a Crock of Barack!

    Dejectedhead in reply to forksdad. | August 3, 2019 at 12:25 am

    Cat ladies are a scourge and there probably were neighbors complaining about it, which means the city should enforce the codes against her. I had the pleasure of having a cat lady for a neighbor. We tried to help her out with spay and neutering and all sorts of stuff, but she was just unwilling to change. Had to call the city department of waste management on her twice because she had so much cat poop in her yard that it stunk up the whole block. When she finally did clean it up, there were several mounds 2-3 feet high of cat poop and dirt to bag up and dispose of. Flies everywhere. Roaches emanating from her yard. Cats catching roaches and leaving their dead bodies in my yard.

    Of course because she never cleaned up her yards, cats started pooping in my yard. My toddler daughter fell hands first into a pile of cat poop in the grass. My wife discovered a pile of cat poop in the child’s seat on her bicycle when the bike was stored upright. Prior to having any pets, I had the pleasure of going around and scooping cat poop out of my yard every couple of days. I calculated it out to be an average of 9 piles of cat poop being deposited in my yard every day…or 3,285 piles of poop I got to clean up every year without any pets of my own. She had/has a pile of cat poop on her roof that is 4 feet long and 3 feet wide.

    So yeah, cat ladies are a scourge.

      C. Lashown in reply to Dejectedhead. | August 4, 2019 at 2:52 pm

      Sounds like that little old lady was out to get you. You’re lucky you survived…half-way sane. A big dog could have changed the odds in her favor, it would eat the stray cats and bite the ass off the offensive whining neighbors.

The city of Garfield Heights, Ohio deserves a commendation for being totally crime-free!

Any city that has no crime can afford the police & court costs to lock up old women who feed cats, since they apparently haven’t any more dangerous criminals to deal with.

It’s a pity Baltimore isn’t like that- in fact, I doubt that they have a stray cat problem in Baltimore. Other creatures, far more deadly than cats, flourish in that city; perhaps the cats in question should be given to Elijah Cummings, he could put them to good use!

The police & jailers in Garfield (isn’t that a cat’s name?) were probably lonely themselves, and undoubtedly aren’t allowed to keep a cat or dog in the jail to keep them company; so it was nice for them, bored as they were with no criminals, to have an old lady to talk to!

Many localities consider feral cats a nuisance/hazzard.

Never pass a law that you won’t enforce with guns and jail cells.

How many fines before incarceration is used. This time it was 4.

I got two things:

1) Amusing that this is in Garfield Heights, for those who remember the comics cat.

2) Maybe we could transplant all these feral cats to Baltimore to deal with their rat problem.

Reminds me a little of Mary Poppins:

Um, wouldn’t it be so much simpler and cheaper for the local animal-control officer to trap/neuter/release these cats, or bring them to the local shelter, rather than house somebody’s sweet old great-grandmother in prison for ten days? These were her neighbor’s cats, who were abandoned. Should she just leave them to starve? She tried calling local animal groups and received no help. I am beyond disgusted with this. Prison is for people who are dangerous to society, not sweet little old ladies trying to be kind.

Interesting that so many “conservatives” are so comfortable with this kind of bureaucratic oppression. Same people turn around and have hysterics about “socialism”.

A lot of cities have started programs that create Feral Cat colonies, but only after they trap them, neuter them and give them shots.

Then they place them with households around the city. The owners give them regular food and water and shelter to keep them around, and in return the Cats take care of the rat problem.

It’s an elegant solution and that allows people who want to take care of them an option and a way to not send them to kill shelters (Ferals don’t domesticate very well usually) and keep the rat populations down

I know i am going come across as an unreasonable hard @$$. But i have had real problems with cat ladies ignorantly in the name of cats estab)ishing feeding stations for coyotes,

Throw the book at her,

    forksdad in reply to Arminius. | August 3, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Nope you come across as a jackass. Ten days can be a life sentence for a eighty year old woman. And if you do not know about or understand the differences between incarcerating men and women don’t opine. You can kill someone through your ignorance at her age it will shorten her life and might kill her but what the hell, the law must be enforced. Zero tolerance and all that.

What would Alf do?

I am the jackass who called the Sandy Eggo Sherriff Dept. When the pack would send a female in heat through the neighborhould, if a dog succumbed that dog would be torn apart and eaten,

So i called the she=iff, i am perfectly able to shoot a dog. And i like dogs. But this dog was staking out a school yard.l followed her.

BerettaTomcat | August 3, 2019 at 12:32 pm

Quit feeding stray cats and watch the wild bird population get decimated.

All she has to do is declare her property a cat sanctuary. She is then free to ignore any cat laws she chooses.

She can then demand that government provide funds for the care and feeding of the cats and to cover their medical expenses.

The spirit of this is being done across the country in cities and states now without consequences so clearly it is sound policy.

I’m amused at how people here tie a case of an old woman being a public nuisance into their favorite hobby horse (Hillary, evil government, poor old woman….). This woman is a persistent public nuisance as much as the homeless and their rat-infested drug-lair/nesting grounds. I am praying that all you bleeding hearts get a woman like this as your next door neighbor. We’ll see how enlightened you are when it becomes YOUR problem and everyone else feeds you the bleeding heart excuses blaming you for being a hard ass.

Read this. The is very possibly this woman’s problem. She is the most likely person to be infected with a very common cat parasite that affects the human brain. This is why “cat ladies” are crazy. Keep your cats indoors and if you have mice or rats in your home, protect your cat! I love cats and dogs but I’m not stupid.

    I’m amused at people that don’t recognize the real problem, the feral cats. They exist independent of old lady’s. That’s the problem that must be dealt with.

BTW, several years ago there was an elderly woman in a city near Pasadena that fed pigeons in her yard to the point that the entire neighborhood was perpetually covered with pigeon shit. Cars, houses, yards, children’s toys,… everything. She was warned and fined yet she kept feeding her pigeons because “they would starve to death without her”. A “sweet, kindly old woman”. Believe me, her frustrated neighbors ALL became the hardest of “hard asses”. The last I heard of it, the city was taking legal action against her. Whatever they did, the issue went away.

If you really want to know how that woman in Garfield wound up in jail, talk to her neighbors.