79-year-old woman sentenced to jail for feeding stray cats

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- A 79-year-old woman in Ohio has been sentenced to 10 days in jail for feeding stray cats.

"It began with me feeding the stray kitties," said Nancy Segula.

Segula lives on Havana Road in Garfield Heights.

"I used to have a neighbor that had a couple of cats and he moved away and when he moved away he left the cats," she told WJW-TV.

Segula says the cats started showing up on her back porch.

"I would always feed them and take care of them because I was worried about them and I'm a cat lover. And then, once my neighbors around here started being unhappy about it, then they called the animal warden," she said.

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She got her first citation in 2017, followed by three more. But her last citation required her to appear before Magistrate Jeffrey Short last week, who sentenced her to ten days in the Cuyahoga County jail.

Segula's family was horrified.

"I couldn't believe my mom was telling me that, for what's she's doing out here, feeding some stray animals, she gets ten days in the county jail. I couldn't believe it," said her son, Dave Pawlowski. "I'm sure people hear about the things that happen downtown in that jail. Not a lot of good things at all and they are going to let my 79-year-old mother go there?"

In Garfield Heights, it is illegal to feed stray dogs and cats under Ordinance 505.23.

However, Segula's family does not believe the punishment fits the crime.

"I understand my mother has broken a law repeatedly with this and that is a law in Garfield Heights, but it should have been reviewed individually. Why would you send a 79 year old lady to jail for feeding cats?" said Pawlowski.

"That its too much of a sentence for me for what I'm doing. When there are so many people out there that do so many bad things," added Segula.

Nancy Segula is supposed to report to jail on August 11th.
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