Feral cat case appealed in court

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The fight to care for feral cats in Henrico County is not over. The SPCA is distributing signs to show just how many people support the woman who is appealing a county decision that bans her from helping the cats on her own property.

Now, she's taking her battle to court. Lawyers handling this case for free filed a petition in Henrico Circuit Court to appeal the decision that found Susan Mills in violation of county code.

Who could forget Mills' heartbreak at the Henrico board's decision to ban her from continuing to care for the feral cats she's loved for decades?

"It's terrible," she told NBC12. "I've lived in that house 37 years and I have fed animals on and off. So I just don't know what I'm going to do."

She's decided to move her fight to the court system.

The county attorney's office has argued there's no evidence a significant number of residents care for feral cats; so it can't be something considered normally done at a residence.

The SPCA is hoping the presence of campaign signs on Henrico yards prove otherwise. CEO Robin Starr said the case has far reaching implications.

"I think it's pretty frightening in terms of our individual rights and freedoms for someone to suggest that I can't do something perfectly reasonable on my own property just because other people in great numbers don't do it as well," she explained.

Henrico residents can pick up signs at the SPCA. The organization is also asking some volunteers to go door-to-door.

"It is crucial that we make sure that people who love animals in Henrico County are able to care for them," Starr told us.

We are still waiting for a date for a hearing in this case to be set in circuit court.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.