Stray cat (icon image): No feeding?
Photo: Sergio Barrios / PantherMedia / IMAGO
Two women from the US state of Alabama have been sentenced to 10 days probation and a fine for a misdemeanor.
The magistrate of Wetumpka, a town in Elmore County with a population of around 7,700, held the two women responsible after they fed and caught stray cats.
Beverly Roberts, 85, was charged with trespassing and disturbance of the peace - her 61-year-old acquaintance Mary Alston was also charged with interfering with government business.
City Judge Jeff Courtney sentenced both to two years of unsupervised probation, with their 10-day prison sentences commuted.
Both women now face a $100 fine and court costs.
Judge Courtney gave the women the opportunity to comment on the verdict.
"I'm not the first in Wetumpka to feed cats," Roberts said.
“People did that long before me.
I just got caught.«
The judge then said, "You weren't convicted of feeding cats." Roberts countered, "I know, because it's not illegal."
The two animal activists were arrested in Wetumpka in June.
The operation was captured on video and published online, including by the local Montgomery Advertiser web portal.
You can see how the police officers first take the car keys from the two women, then lead them away in handcuffs and later rummage through their handbags.
The women later said the police officers' rough treatment left bruises on their arms and wrists.
Lawyers are in position
According to the chief of police, the women, who have become known as “cat ladies”, had been warned several times beforehand that stray cats should not be fed.
The animal activists were known in the city for having the cats neutered at their expense and then adopting them into households or bringing them back to where they were found.
Her goal was to reduce the number of strays, her lawyers said in court.
They now want to appeal the verdict and bring it before a jury.