Two women in Alabama have filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging authorities arresting them for taking care of stray cats, reports The Miami Herald. As per the lawsuit, Beverly Roberts and Mary Alston were accused of trespassing after they tried to trap a cat in order to have them spayed back in June 2022. The women were later charged with a misdemeanor in the subsequent criminal prosecution that took place in Wetumpka Municipal Court.
Lawsuit claims women who took care of stray cats were ‘violently’ handcuffed
The lawsuit claims the women were “violently” handcuffed by officers. The women are known to trap and neuter feral cats across the city. The day they were arrested, Alston had set up a trap for a cat on Hill Street. She was waiting in her car when she saw Mayor Jerry Willis drive by.
After a while, more officers arrived at the scene. One of the officers told her they received a complaint that someone had been feeding felines in the area and asked her to leave the premises.
The officers then left the scene. However, when they returned, they saw her with Roberts at the same place. Subsequently, they went on to arrest them.
Video shows animal rescuers being arrested
“Alright Ms. Roberts … apparently they’ve had an issue with you out here before with the cats,” an officer said in a video published by AL.com.
Upon further questioning, Roberts said, “Well I feed them, we’ve been trying to trap them.” Roberts further added, “And we get them neutered and then get them homes. So we’re trying to do the city a favor.”
However, the officer said the city had asked her “multiple times not to do this” and proceeded to arrest her. When Alston tried to intervene, they detained her as well.
According to the women, they did not trespass and were on private property at the time. They claim their arrests were ordered by Willis and that Chief of Police Greg Benton and Assistant Chief of Police Ed Reeves merely acted on his orders.
The lawsuit says the officials had earlier taken issue with the women complaining about the city’s alleged lack of stringent animal rights laws. At this time, the women are currently seeking a trial by jury. Meanwhile, the defendants have been summoned, and they are due to respond on Feb. 15.