GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio - It's a ticket that could earn Nancy Trojanski of Garfield Heights a $100 fine.
The ticket issued by the Garfield Heights police after neighbors reported Trojanski was photographed feeding three stray cats just outside her unit at the Jennings Manor apartments.
Trojanski contacted NewsChannel5 shortly after receiving the citation on Aug. 26.
"I love them with all my heart. They're my life; they're my family. I have nobody else but these cats," Trojanski said. "A cat is basically a domestic animal. It's not going to attack anybody. Those cats back there just want some help with food."
Trojanski said she believes the cats were abandoned by former Jennings Manor tenants who either died or moved away from the complex.
However, according to Garfield Heights city law, codified ordinance section 505.23, "no person shall provide food for cats, other than those owned by that person, by setting such food out on the exterior portion of the persons home or residence."
The misdemeanor charge carries a fine, but some of the residents living at Jennings Manor, like Jean Chambers, disagree with the law in this case.
"There's only two or three cats. They've been around here for 15 years. We've never had a problem with them," Chambers said. "They're spayed, they're not going to reproduce and it's the same three cats. We're not drawing in any more cats."
5 On Your Side contacted Garfield Heights Animal Warden Ed Jamison about this case. Jamison told NewsChannel5 he's willing to work with Trojanski to find homes for the cats in question.
Jamison explained well-meaning residents can cause more problems when it comes to feeding stray or feral cats. A feral cat is a domesticated cat that has returned to the wild or is born in the wild. It is different from a stray cat, which is a pet cat that has been lost or abandoned.
"There are so many people who are feeding and these wild animals are just reproducing at will," Jamison said. "When you're feeding cats, you're also feeding the other wild animals and wild animals are way up this year."
Jamison has teamed up with the Maple Heights animal warden to help place a growing number of stray animals into good homes. The two cities have just formed the Garfield-Maple Heights Animal Rescue Team .
"We're hoping to continue working with other rescue groups to find homes for these animals," Jamison said. "We also want to help get education out to the public about proper pet ownership and what they should be doing to help the situation."
Parma, Mentor, Strongsville and Shaker Heights all have laws against feeding stray or feral cats. However, in those cities, the potential fines are larger.
Meanwhile, Trojanski is set to got to court on Wednesday when she plans to defend her position.
"I do the best I can for them because the cats are special to me,' Trojanski said. "I hope that I will get some feedback from viewers about this situation."
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