Senior citizen faces jail time for feeding stray cats

Ohio local Nancy Segula was sentenced to 10 days in jail for breaching a feeding ban – a law put in place to discourage the feeding of stray cats.

This week, 79-year-old Ohio local Nancy Segula is facing jail time for feeding stray cats. Segula was sentenced after a judge discovered she was in violation of a local ordinance that prohibits the feeding of stray animals. This feeding ban, like many others, was put in place to decrease the number of free-roaming neighborhood cats. The idea is that by deterring people from feeding the cats, it will prevent them from hanging around.

But this approach to handling stray cats has been proven ineffective. According to the Alley Cat Allies feeding ban position statement:

Feeding bans do not work, and are not scientifically supported. Attempts to eradicate feral cats by starvation fail because there are other food sources that are a by-product of urban and suburban environments. […] In certain situations, feral cats who have been fed on a consistent schedule can become dependent on their caregivers for food, and in these cases, to abruptly discontinue care is cruel and can lead to the death of some cats. But cats will not disappear simply because compassionate people can no longer legally feed them.

Many people, like Segula, risk fines in order to care for feral felines despite the laws in their communities. A self-proclaimed cat lover, Segula has been feeding strays for a number of years. After many warnings and complaints from neighbors, she’s been ordered to report to the country jail on August 11th to serve her sentence.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, has spoken out in defense of Segula, stating that penalizing kindness is ineffective and a poor use of limited municipal funds. “Laws that criminalize compassion for animals are also out of step with the value of animals’ lives in our society,” they wrote in a press release. Contact for more information on feeding bans and laws in place protecting stray animals and those caring for them.