Women Determined to Feed Stray Cats Are Convicted

Beverly Roberts, 85, and Mary Alston, 61, were found guilty of criminal trespassing
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2022 11:56 AM CST
Women's Insistence on Feeding Stray Cats Ends in Conviction
Stray cats.   (Getty Images / Alfariza Soviana Wijaya)

Two women's insistence on trapping and feeding an Alabama town's stray cats—an effort that involved neutering the cats at their own expense—has led to a conviction. Beverly Roberts, 85, and Mary Alston, 61, were on Tuesday sentenced to 10 days in jail (which the Montgomery Advertiser reports was suspended), a $100 fine, and 2 years of unsupervised probation after being found guilty of criminal trespassing; Roberts was also found guilty of disorderly conduct, while Alston was convicted of interfering with governmental operations, reports USA Today.

Wetumpka Police said that on the morning of June 25, police told Alston to leave a vacant lot owned by Elmore County where she was feeding and trapping cats. When they circled back to the lot about 30 minutes later, they say she was still there dealing with a trap, and that Roberts was there too. Police say they refused orders to leave the vicinity, arguing it wasn't illegal to feed the animals on public property. Officer Jason Crumpton testified that he hadn't set out to arrest the women, but that they forced his hand when they wouldn't comply.

"When you feed cats, more cats come to the area," Police Chief Greg Benton said. "If they had heeded those repeated warnings, they would not have been arrested." The county's chief operations officer testified the food put out by the women draws cats but also other animals, including buzzards, and that those animals caused damage to nearby vehicles. One of the attorneys for the women counters, "They were trapping the cats to take them to be fixed. Beverly and Mary were actually helping the city out. By getting the cats spayed or neutered, they were helping to control the population of the feral cats." The women plan to appeal. (More weird crimes stories.)

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