Two Alabama cat ladies sue the police and the mayor for compensation over their unlawful arrest doing TNR

Back in the middle of November 2022 I wrote about the shocking news of two elderly ladies arrested for carrying out TNR on public land (link to that article). They were doing the community a service. But two police officers wearing body cams handcuffed and arrested them and took them to the police station for criminal trespass or some other similar crime. It was completely bizarre and it shocked animal advocates. Note: trespass is not usually a crime. It is a civil matter.

Beverly Roberts shortly before her arrest. The police officer in the picture is one of those being sued for compensation. I bet he did not foresee that development. Good for Roberts. The power of women particularly elderly women. This is a body cam image from another police officer who was there.
Beverly Roberts shortly before her arrest. The police officer in the picture is one of those being sued for compensation. I bet he did not foresee that development. Good for Roberts. The power of women particularly elderly women. This is a body cam image from another police officer who was there.

RELATED: Case against Alabama ‘cat ladies’ arrested for feeding feral cats on public property has been dismissed

The police were obviously misbehaving. Common sense told us all that. The ladies ended up being convicted after a trial that should not have happened and then their case was dismissed and so everything went back to the way it was. None of it should have happened.

It was a complete fiasco and a massive waste of time for the authorities (and money) and a massively traumatic experience for the two Alabama cat ladies: Beverley Roberts now 86 and Mary Alston now 61.

Well, a little bit of time has elapsed since those mad moments and we are now pleasantly told by the Miami Herald that Roberts and Alston are suing the City of Wetumpka, the Chief of Police Greg Benton, the Assistant Chief of Police Ed Reeves, and three city police officers (I guess the ones that arrested them).

I presume that in suing the city of Wetumpka they are suing the Mayor of Wetumpka because it is alleged that Roberts and Alston had angered Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis and the Chief and Assistant Chief of Police some time before the bizarre events unfolded.

It would seem – and the allegation is – that these people in high authority had been irritated and angered by the ladies because they had complained about the mayor and police. The Miami Herald says that Mayor Willis was “harbouring anger towards Robertson Alston for how they had been vocal about his refusal to enforce animal rights laws specifically laws and ordinances that prohibit the chaining of dogs”.

There was bad blood behind the bad behaviour of the police in arresting Roberts and Alston. And that makes a lot of sense to someone like me because the behaviour of the police was so bizarre that there had to be a hidden agenda going on that we didn’t know about and now we do.

And if Roberts’ and Alston’s complaint in their application to the court for compensation is accurate, they might receive damages over their “unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution”. They want trial by jury which I love. They are clearly very confident and they want the matter to be aired fully in public.

I sense that they want to humiliate Mayor Willis and the Chief and Assistant Chief of Police.

Personally, I am fully behind the ladies. I wish them enormous good fortune. It will be a difficult case to win because it is always difficult for citizens in a community to sue the authorities successfully.

That’s because there is an automatic protection against the authorities for errors that they might make. And it is very tough to successfully sue the police no matter what country you live in. No doubt the mayor and police will have the best lawyers presenting their defence.

But nonetheless the case is strong and let’s hope they win.

RELATED: Alabama veterinarian grossly abuses elderly cat while being filmed

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In which American city are there the most cat ladies?

Answer: Portland, Oregon. In second place is Seattle. By ‘cat lady’ we mean single ladies with their cat(s).

Here is the top 10 list:

1. Portland, Oregon (9.9%) – this means that almost one in ten women (or ten in one hundred) in Portland live alone with a cat or cats.
2. Seattle (9.3%)
3. Pittsburgh (8.7%)
4. Kansas City, Missouri (8.4%)
5. Denver, Colorado (8.3%)
6. Albuquerque/Santa Fe, New Mexico (8.2%)
7. Minneapolis/St. Paul (7.7%)
7. Harrisburg, Virginia (7.7%)
8. Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida (7.5%)
8. Columbus, Ohio (7.5%)

Percentage cat ladies per city USA
Percentage cat ladies per city USA

Notably, the top two are situated on the Pacific Northwest of America. I wonder if that is significant. Is it because in that area people tend to be more open-minded and less stereotypical allowing themselves to express their personal lifestyle tastes rather than falling into the expected and conventional? Or perhaps marriage is less popular in the Northwest and therefore there are more single women disillusioned with cohabiting. But I’ll bow to some else’s superior thoughts or knowledge on that subject. What do you think?

It is also worth noting that there is little difference in the percentages amongst the top ten.

There are unfair negative connotations associated with cat ladies. A lot of people, ironically, stereotype them as frumpy, independent-minded women who prefer cats to humans. This is wrong although like many of us some cat ladies prefer cats to humans and there is nothing wrong with that; common sense really….

Many cat ladies are outgoing, sociable types with many friends and acquaintances. They also tend to be more intelligent than average. Their wisdom informs them that living with a cat is preferable.

The figures above come from a study conducted by Nielsen Scarborough in 2015. The study concerned over 400,000 respondents across the nation.

There are many well-known benefits to living with a cat: a lower heart rate being the best known. There are a list of articles on this so I won’t go over it here.

Perhaps the breakdown of the concept of marriage is one factor for the increased number of single women. There are more single women than wives in the USA and the figure for wives is steadily declining. It is the same in the UK. More single women means more cat ladies.

My thanks to Kelly Shea of the Seattle Times for the illustration.

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Did you know Diana Ketcham?

Diana ketcham Cat Rescuer

Diana Ketcham was a determined cat rescuer: The Catnip House, Cat Rescue. She lived in Arkansas. She was on disability and funded her cat rescue with donations. I am sure it was a struggle. She had a 2 acre place that seems to have been very suitable for cats. A safe place. She died recently. I don’t know the cause. She does not look old in the picture. She looks strong and a person who knows her own mind.

We could say she was just another semi-anonymous cat lover struggling to put right some of the wrong done to cats. There are a lot of women like Diana; strong-minded and determined to do something to help unwanted cats. It takes a strong mind to do that. They almost go against the flow. It can be like swimming upstream for independent cat rescuers running their own cat sanctuary.

I think it is fair to say that quite a lot of people don’t like these ladies. Society often see strong-minded independent ladies who rescue and care for a lot of cats as “crazy cat ladies“. The prefix “crazy” says it all. They are not crazy. They are nice and decent. As Ruth (aka Kattaddorra) states, why are they branded as crazy? Fortunately a lot of people admire them and support them.

Diana’s husband, Max will presumably run The Catnip House (their FB page is still there) for a while, at least. It must be very tough for him.

This is a quote from the Planet Kitty author:

It is so very sad when a true, passionate, and compassionate animal advocate, rescuer, or warrior as i prefer, passes from this world onto the next.  it means one of us is down.  we are one warrior less in the rank of file of the few of us that goes to battle daily when we get up and get out of our beds.

She describes Diana Ketcham as a “warrior”. Perhaps that is a good description for a woman who fights for the welfare of cats and who constantly swims upstream.

May Diana rest in peace and thank you, on behalf of the cats of the world.

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