Trapping, spaying and neutering, and rehoming or releasing (TNR) stray cats is an act of kindness and not a crime.

Trapping, spaying and neutering, and rehoming or releasing (TNR) stray cats is an act of kindness, not a crime. Right? Apparently not in Wetumpka, Alabama where Judge Jeff Courtney convicted two ‘cat ladies’ on Tuesday of several charges.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Beverly being forced into police car

Beverly Roberts, 85, and Mary Alston, 61, were convicted on four counts and received a punishment of two years unsupervised probation and ten days in jail (the jail sentence was suspended). Beverly was found guilty of criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct. Mary was found guilty of criminal trespassing and interfering with governmental operations.  Both women were also fined $100 and ordered to pay court costs.

Attorneys Terry Luck and William Shashy argued the trespassing charges were invalid because feeding stray cats isn’t against the law in Wetumpka and the feeding was done on public, not private land. They have 14 days to appeal the court decision, which they plan to do because feeding cats in Wetumpka isn’t illegal, therefore the arrest should never have happened.

Police Chief Greg Benton said after the arrest, which occurred June 25, 2022, that “When you feed cats, more cats come to the area. If they had heeded those repeated warnings, they would not have been arrested.”

Mary talking with police before her arrest

Officer Jason Crumpton testified he had no plans to arrest the women until they refused to leave the area. The situation escalated, resulting in the ladies being taken to Elmore County jail where Beverly allegedly passed out from the stress. By the way, Beverly is a 20-year disabled military veteran! Both women received bruises to their arms and wrists.

Trapping, spaying and neutering, and rehoming or releasing (TNR) stray cats is an act of kindness, not a crime. Mary and Beverly used their own money to care for the cats and to have them spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and rehomed or returned to the area. They’re providing a necessary service to their community and are being ‘punished’ for their compassion.

Beverly talking with police before her arrest

An arrest for trespassing is supposed to be one solution when a person comes onto private (as opposed to public) property against the property owner’s wishes or on property belonging to a business when a person is being disruptive or breaking other laws. NOT for someone on public land committing NO crime whatsoever.

Police Chief Benton may believe he has a cat population problem now but wait until these ladies are no longer trapping the cats. I don’t think he has a clue how bad this problem can become without TNR intervention.

As for Beverly and Mary, I hope the appeal goes well and I hope you ladies can get a lawsuit against the city. I’m unsure whether I’m angrier about the arrest without a crime or with the manner in which these two older ladies were treated by police. Both are sad and distressing.

Officers who treat people in the manner these ladies were treated need to go back to the police academy and learn some manners.

Other readings on this topic below

‘Cat ladies’ arrested. charged with criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct

RIDICULOUS prosecution of two elderly women doing TNR on public land

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Thanks a lot Elisa for this. The point needs to be drummed home that this was a pointless and unfair prosecution wasting taxpayer money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *