I am thinking aloud here. There is an anomaly in some local authority ordinances in the USA. Where there is a law, either direct or indirect, against feeding stray and feral cats, people who are persistently in breach of the law can be punished in the courts more severely than those who are abusive and cruel towards stray cats. Does that strike you as bizarre and turning logic on its head?
Having read many stories of cat abuse and cruelty it is not uncommon for the perpetrators to get off quite lightly or not be caught and punished. Anyone who reads cat news stories knows this. The many cases of abject cat neglect in homes where cats are hoarded and starved to death often results in little or no punishment for the cats’ owner.
And yet, with a gradual change in attitude by the authorities towards forbidding the feeding of stray cats, for public health reasons ostensibly, we have the Nancy Segula case where the lady was sentenced to 10 days in jail for contempt of court. She could not stop herself feeding the cats despite a longstanding order banning her from doing so. Okay, judges have to punish harshly for disobeying a court order but there are thousands of people who have abused cats callously who have evaded punishment altogether.
Recently I wrote about another Nancy Mccauley who may end up in court for the violation of a cease and desist notice under Ohio code ORC 3707.1. She was feeding stray cats and is now due in court for it. In other words both these Nancys were doing something positive and constructive with regards to the welfare of stray cats in their neighborhood and are being dragged through the courts for their efforts while real criminals go scot-free.
I know I am simplifying the issues. It is just that I’d like to make the point that the justice system has gone wrong if good people are punished and bad people are not.
The root cause of this anomaly is the laws which make feeding feral and stray cats a crime. It can’t be a crime. Authorities can’t make something inherently kind and decent a crime. That’s the mistake. Garfield Heights need to review their local ordinances quickly.
If local authorities want to stop individuals feeding stray and feral cats they should work with them on properly managed TNR programs in which feeding takes place and during which the cat population declines. This is managing feral cats. It should be a local authority task. Nancy Segula asked for help and did not get it. If she had she would not be in the position in which she now finds herself.
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