Gerri Dempsey of Conway, SC was in court yesterday, facing possible jail time for her efforts feeding and doing TNR for her area’s stray and feral cats. Gerri is a very sympathetic figure who believes in service to others and acts accordingly. As seen in our post from Tuesday of this week, 71 Year Old Woman Faces Possible Jail Time For Feeding Cats, Gerri has cared for cats in her community for the past 15 years, feeding and helping to manage the populations of 38 colonies in that time. Gerri says she cares for about 50 cats now. A new ordinance instituted in Conway earlier this year outlawed the feeding of feral cats, and brought Gerri to court on three earlier occasions for tickets she received as she continued her service to the cats. When Gerri’s story became known, animal advocates rallied to her cause and Attorney Amy Lawrence of Lovely Law Firm, from Myrtle Beach, stepped up to represent Gerri pro bono.
The judge reached a compromise with Gerri at yesterday’s session that reduces, and possibly eliminates, her outstanding fines and keeps her from going to jail. She must comply with conditions that limit and alter her activities yet allow her to continue to help the cats. She can no longer feed animals at restaurants and other businesses and can only trap cats at such locations with the owner’s permission. Trapped cats are to be delivered to no kill shelters rather than being returned to their colonies, and Gerri will have to keep the animal control officer apprised of the details of her trapping activities from now on.