No one should be convicted for solving a problem the government refused to address
Local governments tend to have a lot on their plate. That’s because most things that governments need to address are often best handled at the local level.
For example, a problem with stray cats.
It’s an issue in Wetumpka, Alabama, apparently. And now, two women were convicted of crimes relating to it.
Rest easy, Wetumpka, the cat ladies have been brought to justice.
Mary Alston, 61, and 85-year-old Beverly Roberts – two hardened and desperate criminals – were convicted Wednesday in Wetumpka municipal court by Judge Jeff Courtney, who found the pair guilty on four charges of trespassing, interfering with governmental operations and disorderly conduct, all misdemeanors.
They were feeding and trapping feral cats.
The shocking crimes, which rocked the small Elmore County town and stoked fear in the hearts of the good, Christian folk who call Wetumpka home, were first discovered by Wetumpka Police … you know what, I just can’t keep going with this.
Because this is dumb.
All of it. The arrest. The trial. The bullying of two elderly ladies who were actually solving the problem that the city seemed to be complaining about.
It really is.
What these two women were doing was using food to trap these feral cats, then taking them and getting them fixed so they wouldn’t keep creating more and more generations of feral cats.
It’s similar to what the nearby city of Montgomery did with great success.
And they weren’t hurting anyone by doing so, either. They’d been directed to set up their operation on public land, away from private property—which they did—and they started dealing with a problem in the city of Wetumpka.
Now, in fairness, I’ve been to Wetumpka a number of times over the last couple of years. I’ve got a friend who lives there and I visit semi-regularly. I never noticed an excess of stray cats, but that only means there were few in the area I happened to be.
So the question you may have is just what crime was committed, and that’s a fair question.
To be honest, I’m not really sure, either. If you read the story, you see that the trespassing charge deals with public land, which doesn’t sound like trespassing in that case; claims of interfering with the arrest of one woman which has body cam footage showing the one supposedly interfering was sitting in the car until she was physically removed of it.
Interestingly, there’s reason to believe this was politically motivated.
And, lo and behold, in court on Tuesday, one major line of questioning revolved around whether Mayor Jerry Willis had told Wetumpka PD to arrest one of the cat ladies, because she had been continuously critical of the city’s animal control policies and practices. Willis, under oath, denied ordering her arrest. Testimony from a lieutenant from Wetumpka PD sure seemed to indicate that some sort of directive had come from the mayor’s office.
Regardless, bodycam footage of the cops’ interactions with Roberts and Alston show an impressive response – three cop cars and four officers – to a call about a lady possibly feeding cats. On a roadside. With no businesses nearby. Near a wooded area. With plenty of space off to the side so traffic wasn’t impeded. On public property.
The problem appears to be that these women were stepping up to address a problem the city either couldn’t or wouldn’t, thus making the mayor look bad.
After all, if a couple of elderly women can solve the problem and the city couldn’t, it makes local officials look incompetent.
Yet people solving problems without the government is how this country used to be, and it worked pretty well for a very long time. Private individuals stepping up and taking care of a problem is about as American as it gets, especially as it doesn’t divert any taxpayer money to the issue, and results still happen.
For many, though, that’s the problem. They have to be seen fixing the issue or else they can’t take credit for it.
It’s possible that I’m missing something here, but it sure doesn’t look like it.
If so, something stinks in the state of Alabama, and it’s not the food being left out for stray cats, either.
Thank you for reading. If you enjoy this content, please consider a paid subscription. For a limited time, you can enjoy 20 percent off of a new membership for the first year. That will get you access to posts like this or our paid subscriber exclusives. Or, if you’re not ready for that kind of commitment, you can tip me via my Ko-fi page.
In hindsight, I think the headline can be argued against quite easily, but I'd already sent this out and didn't feel like trying to change it after the fact. Especially since the point of the story is something that shouldn't be an issue yet still ended up with people convicted.