Ohio woman, 79, sentenced to jail time for feeding stray cats

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio – A couple years ago stray cats started showing up on Nancy Segula's back porch in Garfield Heights, Ohio.

“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 said. “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."

She got her first citation in 2017. More followed.

“I got a total of four,” Segula said.

Her latest citation required her to appear before Magistrate Jeffrey Short last week. He sentenced her to 10 days in the Cuyahoga County Jail.

“I couldn’t believe what my mother was telling me. She gets 10 days in the county jail, I couldn’t believe it,” said Dave Pawlowski, her son. “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?”

In Garfield Heights, it is illegal to feed stray dogs and cats under ordinance 505.23. However, Segula doesn’t feel the punishment fits 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.

WJW reached out to the dog warden and the mayor of Garfield heights. Their phone calls were not returned.

Segula is to report to the county jail Aug. 11 at 9 a.m.

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  • Wendy

    Honestly it should be considered animal cruelty to force her to stop. Those cats are going to starve now!! The people who have arrested her are the ones who needs to be in jail.

  • Robert E Lee

    another government agency going to far. The people should gather a crowd and go down and demand this women is let out of jail. IT IS THE PEOPLES JAIL, THEY POLICE AND THE PROSECUTOR, THE ANIMAL CONTROLL ALL WORK FOR THE PEOPLE!!! We are not their subordinates!!! this is not a jail worthy crime. Feeding stray domesticated animals is our duty. we domesticated them. now what, we just let them starve, because some a-hole person abandoned them. the law should be thrown out and the judge fired for throwing a 79 y/o women in jail for feeding stray domesticated animals.. This is a symptom of what is wrong with our society!!! neighbors reporting on an old lady for helping animals. police and prosecutor enforcing a harmless crime while other people are out killing and mutilating pets and people. while ILLEGALS flood across or boarder with who knows what disease and who knows what plans once they get here. With so many laws to enforce we are not free people!!! You would think in a free society you could feed stray cats.

    • Christina Mackey

      Robert, spoken beautifully. So happy to see a male speaking their opinion and caring about animals. Generally it is only females who comment. Yes it is a sad, sad world we live in. I think members of the public should be judges and magistrates, then we will really see some laws in action, protecting ALL THOSE that should be protected. Animals included. Where on earth the countries find these dipshitidiots who hand out these unrealistic sentences, is absolutely beyond me.

  • Sherry

    Really! Wasting tax payers money on a women who’s crime was caring?❗❗The town should be ashamed. And they need to do more for the animals that are left to their own by bad owners. Jail the owners not the helpers❗

  • Jean

    This is horrible. If they dont want her to feed them then animal control should step up and take care of them. She should not be going to jail. Jail is for people who commit crimes. That town should be ashamed and protest her sentence.

  • DJ Chambers

    That is a dumb law and this is very stupid. That poor woman. Are they going to arrest me for having a bird feeder. I’m 73.

  • Carolyn.

    People are morons! If the humain dept did their job there wouldn’t be stray cats and dogs running around. I say charge the human society for not doing their jobs.

  • Christina Mackey

    ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE. RU kidding me. It is illegal to feed homeless animals. Irresponsible ownership and care, lack of love and compassion, and simply sheer selfishness, is WHY these poor defenceless animals are homeless or have been abandoned. The judge(I will use a polite title, though I have many other choice words that would suit the situation better) is obviously VERY uneducated, in the plight of animals and what they are forced to endure. Why the hell, is mandatory de-sexing in young animals not law. I know we are dealing with cats here, but will say, dogs are mainly abandoned or surrendered due to owners lack of knowledge. Lack of knowledge in dog Psychology causes behavioral issues to develop, and are not able to be dealt with. With dog psychology, these are very easily corrected, the outcome,…. a very happy well balanced dog and happy owner.
    Step 1, Law requires a license to breed animals.
    Step 2, Law requires ALL animals that are not registered to be bred from, MANDATORY DE-sexing before breeding age is reached.
    Step 3, Law requires ALL those that ABUSE, INFLICT CRUELTY, ABANDON ETC any living creature, to receive harsh prison sentences.

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