We are disappointed to report the recent conviction of a 78-year-old Biloxi woman apparently based on the mistaken belief by Judge Pro Tem Dean Wilson that her longtime participation in a sanctioned Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program for feral cats was a “hoarding” situation.
Despite testimony noting that Biloxi resident Dawn Summers had participated in a TNR program established through the Humane Society of South Mississippi, the judge convicted her of the hoarding charge and sentenced her to 100 hours of community service.
The judge in this case made a grave error by fundamentally misunderstanding TNR. Ms. Summers does not ‘own’ these cats – their natural home is the outdoors and they were living on the property even before she was. She was not ‘hoarding’ them, but helping them.
We stand behind Ms. Summers and others in her community who want the city’s TNR ordinance fixed so that misunderstandings like this can never happen again.