Judge offers second chance to woman headed to jail for feeding stray cats

An Ohio woman who was sentenced to 10 days in jail for feeding stray cats after being told to stop will get another day in court.

Garfield Heights Municipal Court Judge Jennifer Weiler said she wants to hear the case after controversy brewed over the sentence handed down to Nancy Segula.

A court officer in Weiler's office told Cleveland.com the judge wants to hear all sides of the story before deciding if another course of action is warranted.

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Segula said she started feeding the stray cats in her neighborhood after her own three cats and husband died in 2017.

"There's been about six to eight adult cats and now there's kittens coming over, too," Segula told Cleveland.com. "I miss my own kitties. They passed away. My husband passed away. I'm lonely. So the cats and kitties outside help me."

But the Garfield Heights Police Department said that the woman still broke the law multiple times.

They said in an extensive Facebook post that they have complaints dating back to 2015 from neighbors about her feeding stray cats.

She was cited in June 2015 and convicted in July 2015.

Segula was again cited in May 2017, this time for having too many cats, and placed on probation in July 2017.

The next month she was cited once again for too many cats at the home and for feeding strays. She was convicted again and placed on 2 years probation with the order that she could not feed any more strays.

In a probation violation hearing this past May, she was given the 10-day jail sentence but it was "stayed" or suspended if she would comply with the order to not feed stray cats.

Last week, during a hearing, she admitted to still feeding the cats and was sentenced to the 10 days in jail for contempt of court, police said.

Garfield Heights animal warden Bonnie Hackett said she has worked with Segula to stop the overabundance of cats.

"This started in 2015. The neighbors have called us asking for help. It becomes a health issue for neighbors. There are numerous cats. I have caught 22 cats already in that area. I am aware of 10 to 12 that are still over there now," Hackett told WJW.

The cats Hackett caught were handed over to a rescue group, given medical care and have been put up for adoption, WJW reported.

Segula's next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 6, WJW reported.

"The thought of going to jail scares me so bad," Segula told WJW.

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