Biloxi woman convicted of hoarding feral cats - - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi woman convicted of hoarding feral cats

A Biloxi woman was criminally charged for an act some animal lovers would call noble.

Dawn Summers is what animal advocates call a colony manager of feral cats. At any given time you'll find 15 to 20 cats on her property.

To keep the cats from having litters of kittens and preventing rabies, Summer's participates in the Humane Society's Trap Neuter and Return Program, a nationwide effort designed to decrease the number of stray cats.

But what Summers and the Humane Society see as caring for the animals, one of Summer's neighbors saw as a nuisance and called Biloxi Animal Control.

The woman later received a citation, first for interfering with traps set by animal control, then one for animal hoarding. Humane Society leaders say Summer is complying with the TNR program approved by the city of Biloxi in 2009.

"The memorandum for understanding we have with the city of Biloxi was designed to protect caregivers of Feral Colonies so it's a little disappointing to see that with an agreement with the city that these people are not protected all in all after they've done really the right thing," says Krystyna Szchzechowski with the Humane Society of South Mississippi.

  Judge Dean Wilson didn't see it that way. Summer was convicted of hoarding and the 78 year old was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and two years probation.

The judge ruled Summer's cats are domestic and that TNR program does not apply.

Now, the Humane Society plans to work to clarify the rules of the TNR program and help Summers appeal her conviction.


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