WETUMPKA, Ala. (AP) — Two women are scheduled to stand trial in an Alabama city court where they’re accused of committing misdemeanors in their efforts to feed and trap stray cats.
Mary Alston, 60, and Beverly Roberts, 84, were arrested and taken to jail by police in Wetumpka over the summer. The police chief said the women had previously been warned not to feed stray animals.
A trial was set for Tuesday morning in Wetumpka Municipal Court. Both women, who were arrested on public property, face misdemeanor counts of criminal trespassing, the Montgomery Advertiser reported. Roberts was also charged with disorderly conduct, while Alston faced a charge of interfering with government operations.
Terry Luck, an attorney for one of the women, said they were performing a public service by trapping stray cats and having them neutered and spayed.
“There were plenty of other ways this could have been addressed without these ladies being arrested and taken to jail,” Luck said.
Wetumpka Police Chief Greg Benton said feeding the cats had created a nuisance because it attracts more animals to the area. He said both women had been “repeatedly” warned to stop prior to being arrested.
The prosecutor assigned to the case, Brad Ekdahl, said he’s aware the arrests have attracted attention beyond Wetumpka, a city of 7,200 people that’s located about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of Montgomery.
“I think the best approach is to present the evidence in a fair and impartial manner and allow the judge to render a verdict,” Ekdahl said.