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Franny Syufy

Uproar Over 78 YO Biloxi Woman's Sentence for "Hoarding Cats"

By December 13, 2012

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Update December 23, 2012: There is only one detail to update with regard to Ms. Summer's conviction and that has to do with her sentence. According to Channel WLOX 13, her 100 hours of community service are "at any agency providing for the care of animals within the next six months. She was also sentenced to two years probation, during which period she can't interfere with animal control officers performing their duties." Her attorney is going to appeal the conviction.

The main reason for this update is that the comments posted to this blog entry since day one have been completely off-topic and have derailed the entire purpose of this post. Today I will start removing ALL comments which are not directly related to the Dawn Summers case. That will include my own comments. I have been remiss in not taking action sooner, and for that I apologize. I will welcome any and all comments directly related to this case. My original post:

Dawn Summers, 78, of Biloxi Mississippi, had been managing a feral cat colony sponsored by the Humane Society of South Mississippi, and approved by the City of Biloxi in 2009, according to the AP article in the Sun Herald.com. Although the City had authorized the program, it hadn't changed the City ordinance limiting residents to six cats on their property. That omission led to the charge of "cat hoarding," and Summers' attorney, will use that fact in his appeal to the county court. Summers was given a sentence of 100 hours of community service, and Animal Control can remove the cats from her property because of the six cat limit.

Alley Cat Allies has issued a press release in which Becky Robinson, co-founder and President, called the conviction a travesty. I particularly liked another comment I read on a mail list, "IMHO - she was already doing 'community service'" Most of the 27 or so feral cats she managed had been spayed or neutered and given their shots. It will be interesting to see what type of community service the City will deem more fitting - perhaps picking up discarded beer and soft drink cans from street gutters?


December 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm
(1) Paula Grant-LeClaire says:

TNR programs in the U.S. really do need more public support. Despite being an ardent cat lover and animal rights advocate and educator I had no idea in 2008 what TNR even was.

Then I saw a program in action at a Target store parking lot in Dallas run by KittiCo and it changed my life. What a smart thing to do – it’s estimated that because of TNR programs the Dallas area has, in 10 years, gone from over a million ‘wild’ cats to less than 300K – amazing.

The suffering, disease, over-reproduction, starvation, violent death, abuse, and everything else these cats face on the streets reduced by a third — I believe that’s a miracle.

It’s a testament to the intelligent intervention of humans who not only say they love animals but walk the walk.

This woman deserves public support and help with legal fees. I hope someone (more skilled than myself!) can set up a website to donate to her cause and her vindication.

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