A pair of Alabama cat ladies were slapped with a suspended jail sentence and fines for feeding and trapping stray cats despite being “repeatedly” warned not to.
Beverly Roberts, 85, and Mary Alston, 61, must pay $100 each, as well as court costs, on top of receiving two years of unsupervised probation and 10 days in jail. The jail sentence, however, is suspended, meaning the women won’t serve time behind bars.
Roberts was convicted Tuesday of criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct, while Alston was found guilty of criminal trespassing and interfering with governmental operations.
“I’m not the first person in Wetumpka to feed cats. People were doing it long before me. I just got caught,” Roberts said in court, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
When Wetumpka Municipal Judge Jeff Courtney pointed out that she was not “convicted for feeding cats,” the octogenarian shot back: “I know, because that’s not illegal!”
The verdicts followed a bench trial. Attorneys for Roberts and Alston said they will appeal.
The two animals lovers were arrested and jailed by police in Wetumpka in June. The police chief said the women had previously been warned not to feed stray animals.
Terry Luck, an attorney for one of the women, said earlier that the women were performing a public service by trapping stray cats and having them neutered and spayed.
Wetumpka Police Chief Greg Benton has said feeding the cats had created a nuisance because it attracted more animals to the area. He said both women had been “repeatedly” warned to stop.
The women’s lawyers argued that Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis ordered Roberts’ arrest in retaliation for her frequent complaints about animal welfare — a claim Willis denied from the witness stand.