Two women got an unexpected surprise when they were arrested for trapping and feeding cats over the summer.
Beverly Roberts, 85, and Mary Alston, 61, were found guilty on four criminal charges Tuesday. A Wetumpka city judge sentenced both to two years of unsupervised probation and 10 days in jail. The sentence of 10 days in jail was suspended. Both women were also ordered to pay $100 fines, along with court costs.
Roberts was found guilty of criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct. Alston was convicted of criminal trespassing and interfering with governmental operations. The charges come from an interaction that Roberts and Alston had with police over feeding stray cats.
The women said they had been paying to neuter the cats and help them get adopted. If they could not find homes, they would return them to where they were found.
The women did this in the hope of reducing the stray cat population, according to their attorneys, Terry Luck and William Shashy.
The attorneys tried to show the court the women were animal lovers and had been using their own money to pay for the operations and adoption process of the stray cats.
Police Chief Greg Benton disagreed, according to the Montgomery Advertiser, and said the women were creating a “nuisance” by feeding the cats.
“When you feed cats, more cats come to the area,” he said. “If they had heeded those warnings they would not have been arrested.”
Officer Jason Crumpton was the arresting officer and testified he did not intend to arrest the women. But, he said they had given him no choice after they refused to leave the area.
Luck is alleging the officers used unnecessary force, resulting in bruises on the women’s arms and wrists.
The women plan to appeal.
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