Furby’s House Survives PETA Investigation

Furby’s House has now survived a PETA investigation. This nightmare began on Friday, June 22 when head of Greenwood County Animal Control came knocking on our door. I was at work and Laura wasn’t at home. The officer left his business card and I called him back as soon as Laura returned and texted the information to me.

As it turned out, PETA had reported us to animal control claiming we had “injured and sick animals” on the premises. The officer was very nice on the phone and told us he would be on vacation the following week and asked me whether I would mind him making a home visit. I told him to come on over and I’d introduce my beautiful cats to him. I explained on the phone about Sealy’s head injury and Misty with her issue of not gaining weight. Pippa and Lucy have allergies and I explained their situation.

We had thought of turning some of the cats over to the Humane Society, and were encouraged this would be a good solution as the ladies in Greenwood have great success in placing cats. I’d been begging local rescues to take some of ours for a year and only Mia had been put up through a rescue.

Just to cover us, I contacted Greenwood Veterinary Hospital where Mike Waldon has been treating Sealy since March 1. He was enraged, to say the least. He furnished me with a letter and also a complete printout of Sealys medical records. I didn’t know it at the time, but the animal control officer I’d spoken with had already talked to the vet and been told we were very diligent in Sealy’s care.

We thought everything was going well until Wednesday morning when another Greenwood County Animal Control officer showed up at the door without warning. He came in and refused to touch any of the cats. He went over to Misty and asked what was wrong with her legs (she’s declawed and her legs are thin.) Then he looked at the ceiling where we haven’t been able to completely clean away the smoke damage from a fire several months ago. THEN he looked at the floor and thought dirt that the mop had pushed into the corner was cat feces. Keep in mind there were no poop accidents anywhere on the floor. My room, on the other hand, looked like it belonged to a teenager with books and magazines thrown all over the floor. I never said I was NEAT!

The next thing we knew the police showed up. Laura was already in a panic thinking we were going to jail. The substitute animal control officer wanted to get social services involved to kick us out of our home because of the smoke on the ceiling. After explaining to Laura that was just procedure, I went out and talked to the sheriff and told him we had no place to go.

It was a hard decision, but we decided to voluntarily surrender nine of our babies. A friend had told me a few weeks ago to put up any for adoption that we felt stood a good chance of finding a home. I regret we let Misty go, but I feel the situation with PETA isn’t over. Listed below are the articles I did that I believe caused this (to follow – sorry). My personal opinion is if PETA could damage my reputation as a reporter, then it would challenge the validity of my writing against them.

I really don’t understand why I’m even a threat to PETA with my writing. I’m not an original story writer when writing about their organization. I’m a story weaver. Meaning I collect several different references and construct a story around them. In most cases I find I can put together a more complete picture when I report in this manner. I’m doing a report in much the same manner we did research projects back in school. Instead of researching several books at a library, I do it online.

I had to call into work Wednesday and explain to my boss that if we didn’t get a few areas that aren’t even accessible to the cats cleaned by Monday, we’d be facing criminal charges for animal cruelty and neglect, plus we’d be evicted from our home. A spot check was to take place on Friday, June 29, with the final decision being made on Monday when the head officer returned from vacation.

The substitute officer really didn’t know what to do with us about the situation. He had arrived under the premises the cats were in horrible condition and found all to be healthy. He spoke to personnel at the Greenwood County Humane Society and I overheard him telling whoever was on the phone that the cats looked healthy.

I spoke with the substitute animal control officer on June 28 to set up a time for his visit. It was then he asked me if I still had “my big brown dog.” Oh boy, was that EVER the wrong thing to ask me. Now I was worried Dreyfuss was in trouble with the dog police.

We passed the spot check with no problem. I explained how Dreyfuss is a retired seizure service dog and can predict when someone is about to pass out. The officer’s entire attitude changed about my dog when he learned that. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dreyfuss, he’s a highly trained 12 year old boxer mix with bad arthritis and cancer. He won’t be around much longer, but I want to make the decision to put him down when he tells me he’s tired of living.

Furby even did his part by rolling all over the officer’s feet! Furby’s such a clown.

The officer even called me back and asked me to go by the shelter and give some background information on each cat. He was much nicer on Friday and I soon found out why. When PETA gets involved, abuse or neglect usually is suspected. The authorities came out to our house under the assumption they’d find something horribly wrong. The Humane Society of Greenwood backed us up in stating there was no abuse or neglect. Everyone who knows us know we would do without food before we’d let our cats suffer.

Laura was still in bad shape over the weekend. She threw up everything she tried to eat and couldn’t sleep. We had an earthquake on Saturday (2.5 or so on the scale), then on Sunday evening, with the outside temperature with the heat index at 110 F., we lost power for seven hours. Furby was the first to suffer. He and Sealy were taken outside in a cage as soon as Furby started panting. It soon reached 120 degrees inside our mobile home. Next came our feral Renny, followed by Mandy and Brinkley. We left Dreyfuss out back, even once it started raining, as he has enough trouble breathing on a good day. The rain helped cool him off.

Monday finally came and inspection time was near. Then the electricity went out again. We were set to have a cool day where the temperature wouldn’t top 103F. It stayed out for an hour, but was back on before the head animal control officer arrived.

He explained that he had gotten clearance to wait until after his vacation to come out and see the cats, but PETA wouldn’t hear of it. They harassed him on his vacation and also called his boss, stating I could “do anything to the cats before he came out.” PETA had also wanted to send out a veterinarian to check the cats. Which would have been fine with me. We have nothing to hide and had no plan on hiding the cats as many do before officials arrive.

I don’t think the head officer was very happy to learn we’d been threatened with jail and told the house was a shambles. He said we lived in a Taj Mahal compared to some places he’d been. On Monday, he saw what I wish everyone could see. A house full of cats being cats. Gizzy was sitting on a bookcase and he thought she was a statue! It was so funny when she moved. And Brinkley showed he had good litter box habits by taking a poop in his litter box, right in front of everyone. I held up all 20 pounds of cat for the officer to see!

Misty and Tom are gone, along with Annabelle, Lucy, Pippa, Garfield, Miss Kitty, Cocoa and Stitch. Misty had a litter box problem due possibly to her being declawed. And Pippa and Lucy have their allergies. I told the Greenwood Humane Society ladies good luck with that situation because it comes back a week after any kind of treatment.

The main reason we made the decision to give up those cats is I don’t believe the PETA situation is over. I think they will look for anything to report on me about. Animal Control may come knocking on my door unannounced any time of the day of night if PETA pushes it. I can fight them, but Laura isn’t able to.

Thanks to the interference of PETA, we are no longer able to foster or rescue any more cats. Laura is too traumatized by this whole situation. We plan on keeping the dozen cats we have on the premises and spoiling them rotten. Sealy is doing great and living cage free as a normal cat. He still has a hole in his head, but don’t tell Sealy he’s still on the injured list. He doesn’t seem to notice his wound.

We’ve been criticized about letting a few of our cats go. I feel we made the best decision and each cat will get a family of it’s own to love it. I also told the shelter we’d be glad to take any back who didn’t get rescued. So none of them have to die.

I hate we were under so much pressure at the time of the first inspection. If we’d have been allowed to wait on the more experienced officer, a lot of this would have been avoided. PETA had also asked to be in charge of the case instead of going through the proper channels, meaning Greenwood County Animal Control would first access the situation. PETA had already been informed I had nothing against a home visit, even though I wasn’t required by law to allow animal control in my house without a warrant.

We have nothing to hide. On the day we surrendered nine, all of the cats were a nervous wreck. They knew they were in the company of someone who didn’t understand them. The final inspection on July 2, they were all out laying around and playing.

I did lose a few rescue friends on Facebook. I understand this, as it’s dangerous to associate yourself with someone being investigated by PETA. I’m so glad we proved what I’ve already stated over and over. We have a house full of spoiled cats.

I only have one major complaint. Laura cleaned my bedroom!!! She threw my books and magazines away and now I can’t find anything! I don’t know what went in the trash and what’s in the closet because I’m afraid to open the closet door. Payback’s hell!

I could just picture PETA reporting me over and over for Misty’s emaciated condition and Pippa and Lucy with their allergies. I feel Cocoa will find a good home with someone who can’t risk being bitten or scratched(he’s declawed and toothless). Annabelle may be deaf, but she’s a great cat. As are all my cats.

We hated doing this, but thanks to PETA hounding animal control on a daily basis, we were facing eviction on Friday and jail on Monday because of a personal vendetta. PETA is probably like everyone else and seen my Facebook photos of my cats. Everyone who knows me knows Sealy has a serious injury, Misty is skinny and Pippa and Lucy have allergies. So on what grounds was I reported other than for my stories against them?

If this had just been one call made to report what PETA thought may be a problem, I could understand. These calls would have been considered harassment if they had been made to me as a private citizen. Because they were made by PETA to animal control, they’re not illegal. It appears to me PETA was undermining the good sense of our animal control employees, as well as making a pest of themselves. All PETA had to say after the investigation was made is they’re glad the cats were all right. I believe they knew the cats were all right before they did the investigation. What’s worse is their calls to animal control may continue and we may be investigated at each call. Which is fine with us, except for the inconvenience with my work schedule and the fact the officers will have to come out in what’s likely to be triple digit temperatures this summer. I wonder if PETA can eventually be told to just quit calling about us?

PETA would have LOVED to bring us down after all I’ve written against them. Remember, my articles are mostly based on news articles written by local newspapers around the country concerning how many deaths PETA is responsible for, which I later wove together into a story for the readers at pictures-of-cats.org.

Some say an organization as large as PETA wouldn’t be interested in such a small rescue as ours. If not PETA, then someone I’ve angered over the years. But the decision to continuously call animal control was made by PETA, so I do hold them responsible.

Did I do the right thing by allowing my cats to go to rescues for their own homes? How do you feel about the way PETA handled the situation? Do you think my writing is why I was investigated?And one final question. How many of you have now or have cared for cats you feel PETA would have removed from your home due to an illness or injury? I’m following the story of an injured cat named Snow in much the same way people follow our Sealy. Is PETA going to attack that rescue next? It really makes me wonder.

I now definitely believe no good deed goes unpunished. In a way, I’m glad all of this took place. There are too many people claiming to run rescues who are really hoarders or abusers. It’s been determined our rescue is neither. I just think it was a very sorry way for PETA to handle the situation.


Update 8th July 2012: Vet Bills. Marley is listed on the bill and the vet saw the kittens at no charge. Click on these to see large readable images.

Facebook Discussion


Furby’s House Survives PETA Investigation — 44 Comments

  1. Phew…that is a tough story. I read it all. I only know PETA from what I have read on the internet. But I am shocked that they are behind what seems like harassment. If it is true that PETA is behind this it shows them up in a terrible light – vindictive and nasty. Totally against their intended image of ‘ethical’.

    Anyone who knows you, even slightly, will know that you help cats, you save cats from death and spend a lot of time and money on the welfare of the cats in your charge.

    If PETA did have concerns due to misreading the situation it would have been better if the approach to you had been more gentle and polite at the outset.

    Just a horrible experience. It will change the way you see cat and animal rescue for the rest of your life.

    And I feel for Laura. What right, though, do they have to evict you from your home? Is it rented or something? Do you have a lease?

    Take care Elisa.

  2. We own it. They were going to determine it unfit to live in because the trash can burned into the kitchen floor at the time of the fire. The governemt can make you leave your home in this country whether you own it or not.

    • That is shocking. You would have a right to go before a judge, though, to argue your case. An application to remove you from your own home would not succeed from what I know of the situation.

      • Our government is fickled. If construction is wanting to buy a piece of your property to expand a road or something and you won’t sell it to them the county government will take it from you. If you sit in your yard to protest this you go to jail. I’ve often said if someone will pay me to move to the UK i’d gladly go.

        • Why don’t you start another chip-in (to your countless others) to pay for your to move to the UK? BTW…the UK’s animal cruelty laws are much stronger than the US’.

  3. I’m sure PETA would think I’m not caring for Desperado——he lived many years as a stray although he had to have been a pet at one time. He is FIV positive and at least sixteen years old and looks very gaunt. There have been others over the years who have had conditions which would make a person wonder about their care. There’s also Leo the dog who has skin allergies and looks terrible in the summer but is a cute little guy in the winter.
    I have read some of your articles on PETA and also some by Nathan Winograd and others and frankly, the more I learn about PETA the less I like them.

    • Brinkley is FIV+ and he’s our biggest cat. We let Tom and Misty go as they both have litter box issues and the last thing we need is poop on the floor if we’re paid a surprise visit. The first visit was a surprise before Laura and I even got up but thankfully no poop on the floor.

  4. i am just appalled at how one organization that is supposed to save animals can be so hateful and vindictive towards someone who is also saving animals. i’m sorry you had to go through this. i’ve also hated PETA. they are a bunch of loose nuts. if they would put all that effort towards actually rescuing animals, think of all the good they could do.

    i’m so sad that you surrendered some of the cats that i watched you rescue from the kill list. i’m praying they find homes soon. i wish i was there so i could take and foster stitch and garfield.


  5. This whole thing is ridiculous! I knew PETA was a radical group, but I never thought they went against innocent people who are just trying to do good. If they continue this harassment after the animal control has given you a good report, you should look into suing them for harassment. I know you did a wonderful job of taking care of the kitties, many times taking ones that no one else wanted, and getting them to the vet and fed and loved. So what if your house isn’t perfect? You aren’t a hoarder and all your cats are well cared for, as proven by the vet. I am sorry you and Laura have had to go through all this!!

  6. I have a 12 year old FIV+ boy who sounds like he has pneumonia when he breathes. He doesn’t. He’s never had any chest congestion since he was a kitten. He does, however, have an extra small heart. Not sure if it’s the cause of his noisy breathing, but the vet has never been able to find what actually IS the cause. This condition has been exactly the same for 8 years – no better, no worse, no matter what’s been tried. I’m sure if PETA met him they’d want him euthanized immediately. I know there’s positive that can be said about everyone, but so far I’ve never heard anything positive about PETA. I’m glad you and your sweet rescue kitties survived their evil.

  7. I have been following this since it first started. Your experience with PETA is why no matter how much good they have or will do I will not work with them. Yes every organization has bad apples, but PETA’s bad apples are out there in your face. I still have your facebook liked under my rescue’s facebook and have no plans to remove it. Did you do the right thing giving the cats you did over? Only you can fully say. But from what all I have seen on your facebook you have done an amazing jobs with your cats. I hope one day you guys feel safe enough to start your rescueing back up again.

  8. This comment is from Rita:

    Actually, Elisa, it sounds as though PETA did you a favor by prompting you to reduce the animals you’re trying to care for to a more reasonable number. In fairness to your readers and in the interest of truthful journalism, how many of the animals you still have are spayed and neutered? It’s my understanding that at least four of the adult cats you relinquished (male and female) were intact and capable of breeding. You’ve allowed your dogs to breed and as recently as a few months ago, gave up several puppies who were heavily flea-infested and anemic. You kept at least one of the puppies and refused the rescuer’s urging that you get the dog altered. Anyone who works to save animals from death row should make certain they themselves aren’t contributing to the problem. To those of us who work tirelessly to save unwanted animals, this is particularly infuriating.

    While your efforts for animals may impress some, to others it appears this has become a way for you to make lots of money. A simple check of just three of your recent Chip Ins total $2,342 in a few short months. You purchased a new air conditioner unit just last year with donated funds. Upon suffering a heat wave (as most of the country is) and losing power to your mobile home a day or so ago, you posted that you’d bought a second air conditioner “because the first one beeped.” It is odd statements such as this, combined with the casual attitude that if something breaks, you’ll just set up a Chip In, which draw scrutiny. As well, I and many others have long followed your comments and hundreds of posts (on your many Web sites) regarding animals who were sick and/or died in your care (most recently, Ginger—a geriatric cat you took from a local shelter, who you described as frail and thin, and for whom you apparently failed to seek timely veterinary care). You’ve publicly blamed the shelter, but in reality, each one of us chooses the animals for whom we’ll provide care, and the responsibility begins and ends there. When readers see nearly weekly pleas for money “or we won’t have grocery money,” you must understand that some will open their wallets, but others will want to look deeper before doing so. You’ve also posted that you expected your “rescue efforts” were to be funded by friends, almost as if there’s some unwritten agreement. The problem is, when your online friends drop away, it is you who is responsible financially for the animals’ care. If you can’t afford them, you shouldn’t have them.

    There are many people who have voiced their concerns to you publicly about your caring for animals you profess to save, so while PETA may’ve contacted local officials, I highly doubt you’re on their radar beyond that point. Respectfully, while you do have many readers, I don’t think PETA pays that close attention to what you write about them.

    Finally, I’m told the animals you gave up to the shelter will find new, loving homes through the efforts of several people helping to make it happen. It will take money to get them medical care, spaying and neutering, and anything else they need—money that it appears you had via donations but didn’t bother to put toward such things. I was hopeful your article would talk about how fortunate the animals are to be getting homes and how happy that makes you, as well as why people shouldn’t “get in over their heads” when it comes to animals. Your readers would benefit from such information, rather than the same tired rants about PETA.


      • I look forward to reading it, Elisa. Not only will it be cathartic for you, but your readers will benefit (some may even be facing the same situation). I do hope you refrain from repeatedly mentioning “PETA” throughout: it’s distracting and does little to address the subject of what happens when one gets in over their head concerning caring for animals.

  9. I It really was a blessing in disguise for some of the animals to go and I’m glad they’re going to good homes. We’ve lost very few cats and it wsnt the shelters fault about Ginger. Yes the puppies did have a few problems. We had treated the cats for fleas and not the dogs. I admit to that. The chipin money has been used for the comfort of the cats. I have to take back the a/c from last year as soon as someone will help me as its a bigger unit. Sealy has had close to $1500 in vet bills since we got him. I’

  10. I’ve been short with responses as I only have the cell phone. Its nice with so many of the cats gone. We are more than relieved this has turned out the way it has. We are not going to take in any more cats or dogs. I turned down 2 less than a month ago and was told if I didn’t take them they’d be pts. We were just at the point we couldn’t handle anymore. All the problems have been corrected. Mainly too many pets. They said our hearts were bigger than our home. Situation now more manageable.

  11. Elisa,

    I know you are writing this for sympathy, but it is hard to be sympathetic.  Four of the cats you gave up were not even spay-neutered!  You claim to be a rescue, but that is the first rule of rescue — spay and neuter your cats!!  Not having that done destroys your credibility.

    Then is the fact you gave up two senior cats.  How can you give up such longtime companion animals like that?  Senior cats are very rarely adopted.  What makes you think they are going to find new homes? 

    You’ve also stated repeatedly that two of the cats you gave up have litterbox issues.  How is a cat with litterbox problems going to find a new home? 

    You say PETA came after you because of your articles.  What makes you think PETA even reads your articles?  And if they read your Facebook page, maybe they saw something alarming … such as the fact that Sealy is being treated with home remedies and you keep pulling of his scab.

    With such a dirty environment as you describe in your trailer — still not cleaned up from fire damage — that is not a good environment for a injured cat with an open wound to heal.  In fact, it’s not a good environment for ANY of the animals. 

    You keep talking about your two “allergy” cats.  But how do you khow those are allergies?  What if they are URI?  You are not providing URI treatment.  That is neglect. 

    And then there are your ongoing money problems.  True sanctuaries do not post things like “I’m going to kill someone if I don’t get my medication” or “We don’t have grocery money.”  If you can’t afford to keep the animals, you should not take them. True rescues know their limits. 

    Posting constant Chipins on Facebook is not a legitimate fundraising strategy.  Do you pay taxes on any of these proceeds?  You need to.  They appear to be your main source of income.  I bet the IRS would be interested to find out about this.

    Personally I hope there are rescuers stepping up to clean up the mess that YOU made with all these animals.  But you cannot count on that. Our shelter system is bursting at the seams, and most animals do not get rescued.

    What you are doing is shameful.  You are not a rescuer and you are not an authority on pets.  You are using these animals to seek attention for yourself. 

    Please … GET HELP and leave the animals out of it.  They do not deserve the fate of living in your filthy trailer for years only to be dumped in an overwhelmed animal control system for whatever fate might await. 


    P.S. Admin, you are being duped by Elisa (not even her real name).  The only thing she is an expert on is now NOT to run a cat rescue.  Wake up and smell the coffee.

    • Hi AmyK, thanks for the comment. I think you are being a bit harsh and are not making a balanced criticism. I don’t believe that the article was about seeking sympathy. I think Elisa writes about cats etc. because she likes writing and it earns a bit of money. A simple, pragmatic reason.

      Also, I don’t believe I am being duped. I know Elisa’s real name. I have known her well before she adopted her pseudonym. I feel I know her quite well actually.

      I think Elisa will agree she is not perfect and she has made mistakes. But overall she has saved the lives of cats and improved the welfare of cats. You are focusing on the negative only. There are many positives.

      Her home was not described as a ‘filthy trailer’ by the animal control people. The pictures I have seen of it do not support what you say.

      Elisa did keep too many cats. I knew that and Elisa has realised that. But she has had the sense to take action.

      As far as I remember, Sealy’s treatment was pursuant to veterinary advice. I didn’t agree with all of it (the scab removal) but a vet was involved. Also Sealy seems content and he has been rescued and cared for. He is alive and has received veterinary care etc. What would have been his fate but for Elisa?

      I appreciate all comment though. I like an open, uncensored, discussion.


    • I used to receive daily emails from someone who said their rescue needed $300 a day to run and they were bouncing checks and without funds their cats wouldn’t eat. Yes there have been times we didn’t have grocery money and ate ramen noodles. The cats have always been provided for. And it was an unspoken arrangement my friends would help support the cats financially. With this many gone things are going to be much easier. I’m truly sorry such a mess came out of this but we proved the animals weren’t abused or neglected. And although the cats weren’t fixed there were never any kittens conceived. We had them sectioned off in different rooms. Our biggest mistakes were with the dogs. And the vet who treated Pippa and Lucy tried them on 3 antibiotics. They would be well for a short time then the sniffles would return. It wasn’t bad. More like hay fever. We were concerned it wouldn’t stay cleared up. And I don’t blame the shelter for the shape of the cats. Some cats are in bad shape when turned in. We did the best we could for as long as we could.

  12. Yes all receipts are kept for tax purposes. We have spent much more than we ever took in. We never planned on this many cats but no one wanted them and we were contacted about pulling them shortly before pts. The intact cats were not around Pippa. We did make a mistake with the dogs and things are much better with them gone. The shelter assured me of rescues. Misty was the first to be claimed. Our home is clean. The problem was where a trash can left a burn mark on the floor. We are continuing to make improvements. Sealys vet has overseen his treatment from the beginning and we were told the wound must heal from the inside out. The shelter had also told us this was how it must heal as well as another local vet. Its much better now. If I’m guilty of anything its simply too many cats for the space we had. But they always have clean water and food and bedding and plenty of love. We also won’t be taking in any more. I plan to write an article on what I’ve learned from all of this. The reason we even started pulling cats was because of the rainbow bridge album. We watched too many cats die with no one to save them.

  13. It seems to me that the people to blame for people like Elisa taking in more animals than can be afforded and coped with, are the people who dump their pets at Rescue Shelters on any flimsy excuse, not caring if it’s a Kill Shelter. They just walk off and leave their pet to his fate. Also to blame are the people who turn their pets out to fend for themselves, often un-neutered, many of those poor animals end up in Rescue Shelters too. Have they no conscience? Do they ever give their pets another thought once they’ve got rid of them? Along comes a kind hearted person like Elisa who can’t bear the thought of a healthy animal being killed and pretty soon word gets around to offload more unwanted animals onto her, by touching her heart with their sad stories. I’ve known quite a few people who become overwhelmed through the goodness of their heart, by people taking advantage of their kindness and they can only do their best to care for the increasing number of animals they rescue. They can’t afford the expense of neutering and surely Animal Welfare Organisations should allow for this and pay for their neutering as Cats Protection do in the UK.
    It’s very easy to criticise someone then walk away, criticism doesn’t help at all, practical help does, whether physically or financially. Where would those cats be if Elisa hadn’t rescued them ?
    DEAD that’s where.
    PETA has cleared Elisa and as she says, she has learned from all this, so let’s show our support and praise her for the GOOD work she has done and is still doing and feel for her that she now has to turn animals under a death sentence away.
    Elisa please ask your vet if painting on Gentian Violet could eventually heal Sealy’s wound, it’s antibiotic and antifungal, I saw it many times in my vet nurse days heal open wounds, sometimes old fashioned remedies do work best! Good luck x

  14. I’d like to thank everyone who has stuck with us during this difficult time. We were wrong to have allowed Darla to have a litter of puppies and we admit that. Three cats turned into the shelter were unaltered. They were Stitch, Garfield and Pippa. Pippa was kept in this room away from the males. Whenever she wanted to come out to the living room, the males were put in Lauras room away from her. We are not taking in any more cats or dogs. Dreyfuss will be put down this week or next as he’s 12 and isn’t enjoying life as he should. The puppies that went to Greenville did have fleas. We had treated all the cats and dogs except them because we thought they were too young for Advantage. None of the animals surrendered had fleas.

    As for the chipins, I know of many who keep cats as I do who raise money this way. I’ve always been honest as to what I’m raising for and I keep all of my receipts. I wasn’t even going to do one for the generator we hope to purchase but I was asked by a supporter to do one. We’ve put out 4x what we ever collected. It took a lot to care for 21 cats. PETA was a blessing in disguise as we’ve had a very manageable time with the cats we have now. Jasper and Sammy will be neutered in the coming weeks as everyone else is fixed. When I first began pulling cats I asked to be called if no one else stepped forward to claim them. In other words, I was their last chance. I knew we wouldn’t be able to do this on my own and my many friends offered to help as much as possible and they’ve never abandoned me.

    The main reason I got into pulling the cats was I got very tired seeing their faces in the Urgent list then a few days later they were in the Rainbow Bridge list. It was distressing no one was helping them and I knew we had the heart to give it a try. Things didn’t get rocky until I was cut from a 36 hour work week to under 20 hours a week. Anyone who has ever experienced a cut back knows what its like. I’m now working full time, but at a low paying job. There are no jobs in my area unless you can get into the medical field. My arthritis is too bad to work with patients or I would do that. I will not be holding any more chipins’s.

    No more cats will come to us. It’s over. I’ll continue to look at the Urgents list and know we could have helped with a few eventually if none of this had happened. We were doing fine with fostering for Greenville, but I don’t trust my car to make the 3 hour round trip and my car a/c is very poor. I don’t want to put the animals through the heat. I did talk to Angie at the shelter and she said almost all of the cats had been spoken for by rescues. We also have a local Petco now where adoption events are held. Yes, I know it’s a mess and I’m sorry. I’m glad I was able to prove the cats were not abused.

    As for Sealy, he’s still under vet care and visits the vet every 10 days or so. He’s been seen by a total of 4 vets now including the shelter vet and all of them have said to allow the wound to heal from the inside. He’s been on 4 antibiotics now and there’s no infection. I’ve tried herbal remedies as the prescription ones haven’t worked. The honey was great except it pulled off the scab then changing the bandage. I’ve now ordered Buck Mountain Wound Balm because someone recommended it.

      • Yes she was. She’s the cat who made the Rainbow Bridge list and andrea emailed me asking me to take her. She knows hand signals and will come right to you. You may want to put a bell on her collar so you can hear her. And all the cats are inside cats. Cocoa eats dry food even though he’s toothless. Feel free to ask anything you need to know about the cats. Pippa and Lucy have been given round after round of antibiotic and get sick a week after its over. Nothing major. Just sneezes. Its so nice with the number being cut in half for the household.

  15. Elisa, I’m glad to hear you admit to making mistakes. We all make mistakes in our lives. What’s important is that we learn from our mistakes instead of blaming others. You and the cats now have a new start on life. I hope to see you keep your word and not take in anymore cats or ask for money for those you *choose* to keep. At this point, they are your personal pets, not fosters. Best wishes.

    • Its been wonderful because we have more time for each cat. No more of either for us. I’ll write a story on this side of my experience in a few days. I do wish you’d look at some of the before and after photos on my website. We rescued only a few who weren’t sick at time of rescue. I made many a vet visit immediately from the shelter. I did talk to the shelter and offered to take back any who weren’t rescued and was told they had pretty much been spoken for. My only concern with the cats I do have is the unwillingness of the vets to come out on weekends during an emergency. There are no 24 hr clinics in small towns.

  16. I’ll still send you money, Elisa, chip in or not. Ruth from England is right. The fault is that of those who have pets and throw them away like garbage when they’re done with them. The improvement of all the animals in your care is dramatic and easy to see in your photos of them. I hope you will continue to write about your animals. Your talents as a writer and photographer enable you to tell a really good story. The best stories are the ones where not everything goes perfectly or according to plan. That’s life, with all it’s ups and downs, and you can’t let yourself be defeated by it. (Easier said than done.) The truth remains that, if not for you, the cats you saved would be dead right now. The mass killing of animals in so called shelters is heart breaking and needs to stop. I’m not going to bust your chops for actually trying to do something about it. And you did do something about it! You showed the specialness of each cat who would just have been thrown away. Under your care they thrived and their individual personalities came through. Makes it a little harder to condone all the killing when we see what love can do for those animals no one wanted. Your love for the cats you rescued shows plainly the contrast between love and indifference. The indifference of society toward companion animals languishing in shelters is evil, plain and simple. Trying to help those animals is good, but you also have to take care of yourselves. With fewer cats you will be better able to care well for the cats and for your own mental and physical health. And please don’t stop writing about the cats. I’ll especially miss reading about grateful Garfield. I hope the shelter can tell you a little but about where he and the other cats end up. It feels like an unfinished story not knowing where they will be living now.

  17. You wouldn’t believe the rumors flying around now. I’m being accused of neglect of Pippa and Lucy when the vet has put them on 3 different antibiotics on three different occasions with the snootnboogers coming back a week after each ran out. As far as Misty, we had her set up for an appointment for dental when all of this happened. We got scared because we don’t believe this is the end of it. We let go of any cat who doesn’t do 100% poopage in the litter box because one piece of feces on a counter or floor could lose us all the cats. We also sent up all the cats we believed would find a good home even though they’re not perfect. Its said 4 of the cats weren’t fixed. Garfield,Stitch and Pippa does not make 4. As far as I know they are now at a good rescue. It doesn’t matter which one. All of them in my area are excellent. We have a much easier time with the cats we now have. Its said there was feces on the walls and floor. There was a little dirt in the corners where the mop didn’t pick it all up. It was said we have no floors in our home. There’s one spot where the trash can burned into the floor that we haven’t replaced. If all thats being said was wrong we would be in jail and have no cats now. It was a blessing in disguise because now a lot of my cats can get their own home. I’ve been accused of being a hoarder also. A hoarder wouldn’t have advertised 19 cats up for adoption in the past 6 months. A hoarder wants to keep all their cats. And don’t worry about my writing. I haven’t stopped. I’m cleaning up my FB page and changing privacy settings because I know who my friends are. That’s gotten me behind on my writing but I have a few stories in my head for the weekend or the first of next week. And I did find out who did this. It wasn’t started by PETA. It was started by anti-Caboodle after I invited the Caboodle Ranch people to comment on the latest article I did about them. I just thought it good journalism but I started a war. I’m just going to leave the situation alone

    • Ruth and Elisa, important to the discussion of shelters being filled beyond capacity (necessitating euthanasia) and how Elisa fits into it all is the fact that *any* of Elisa’s animals were left intact (capably of breeding, regardless of any attempt to keep them separated) and that some were in fact allowed to reproduce. This is a major conflict for someone who is at the same time claiming (or believing) they’re “saving” others and deeply disheartening for those of us who continue to try and spare animals from death row. One simply shouldn’t be in the same context as the other. In fact, by allowing her animals to produce more offspring who were born into a world where they’re already unwanted (save by the grace of God and others who work tirelessly to re-home them) and where others are dying every day in shelters just because they’re homeless. This is serious business and hopefully, a lesson learned. Elisa, I urge you to make plans now for all of your animals to be spayed and neutered. It’s the right thing to do, for you, the overpopulation crisis, and especially for the animals entrusted to you.

      • My apoolgies for not finishing my sentence. I meant to say, by allowing her animals to produce more offspring who were born into a world where they’re already unwanted (save by the grace of God and others who work tirelessly to re-home them) and where others are dying every day in shelters just because they’re homeless, *she is in fact part of the deadly problem, not the solution.*

        • And my *apologies* for the typo. 🙂 Elisa, what will it take to get not only the intact male cats fixed, assuming all your females are spayed, of course, as well as the male dog you have? How much is it going to cost?

  18. I am very disheartened by Elisa Black Taylor/Joyce Sammons. I have been following her saga since she starting pulling animals from a local high volume shelter. Many offers of knowledge and assistance were given, and support but most of all that did not involve cash donations were declined.

    Elisa pulled many kittens back in July/August of 2011 from a local shelter in Greenville, SC. Instead of properly quarantining kittens of different litters she mixed them all together with great risk. The majority of the 20+ kittens she pulled in less then one month died from either panleuk or unknown ailment. During that time, many tried to assist Ms. Sammons on proper care of her “rescues,” majority were ignored including recommendations that she take the sick animals to the vet. She promptly created chipins so she would have “money to take them to the vet.” Documentation in Ms. Sammons’ own words can be found here: http://pictures-of-cats.org/panleuk-or-feline-distemper1.html

    In response to this great tragedy Ms. Sammons publicly critized the shelter for the panleuk outbreak at her residence; instead of practicing good rescue/shelter husbandry on her own property. Ms. Sammons set the stage for a disaster situation by mixing over 5+ separate litters of kittens together, most untested for feline diseases.

    Ms. Sammons also showed a history of being ill-equipped to provide medical care or lack of animal medical care knowledge in treating common aliments, as well as followup spay/neuter. She continued to “adopt” out animals unaltered with only the original shelter paperwork provided. Of the surviving kittens, she also did not follow through with later spay/neuter of her cats and dogs.

    Ms. Sammons self-reportedly came into possession of a stray shitzu that she named MuuMuu whom she allowed to breed with her Maltese Mix Darla and have a litter of 6 puppies. Later when the puppies where 6-7 weeks old, she asked for assistance with the local shelter/rescues to take the puppies because “they were becoming underfoot” and costly. A local rescue did respond and found the conditions of the 4 (out of 6) puppies to be anemic, full of worms, flea infested, and a strong case of coccidia. Concerns were raised by the responding rescue to treat Ms. Sammons 2 remaining puppies (which she kept), and Ms. Sammons responded with treating them with Albon as a dewormer.

    An offer was made to facilitate the spay for no cost to Ms. Sammons of her dog Darla to prevent more litters from being born. Ms. Sammons declined this offer, stating that she wanted to Darla to have a 2nd litter.

    Ms. Sammons, on the local Animal Control officer’s prompting visit, did surrender 5 dogs and 9 cats to the local animal control. 4 of the cats were not altered, Darla was pregnant, and Mumu had a collapsing trachea as well as crypt orchid. Of the 5 dogs, one was a husky with unknown origin, and the other was pulled from a local shelter. All amist one of the worst puppy and kitten seasons on record due to our recent mild winter.

    She has admitted to keeping at least 12 cats currently, to include a medical case named Sealy, and 2 dogs, Dreyfuss (senior large breed mix) and one of Darla’s puppies who remains unaltered. She is also reported to have several male cats at her residence that have remained unaltered.

    Over the past 1.5 years, Ms. Sammons has shown a repeated history of lack of monetary funds to care for even the basic needs for animals in her care, the lack of understanding of basic animal medical care and husbrandry, and the almost habitual need to take in yet more animals with high risk conditions. With her prior track history, many can only express concerns with her current amount of animals and their continued care and future.

  19. Why are some people being unkind to Elisa? If you weigh up the good she has done against the relatively minor mistakes, you have to conclude that overall, she has assisted cats and improved the lives of cats. Isn’t that what we are all rooting for?

    I would like to know the name of the person who reported her. He or she must have made things up.


  20. Only Ruth (Monty’s mom) has the courage to agree with me that the people to blame for rescuers becoming overwhelmed and unable to cope, are the ones who callously dump their pets in Shelters or just abandon them, for someone else to rescue and worry about physically and financially.
    Elisa has rescued many cats which otherwise would have been killed!
    Why do some people keep heaping blame and criticism on her, why not instead spend time educating ignorant irresponsible people who dump their pets as to the fact that having a pet means a lifetime responsibility? It doesn’t mean a passing ‘possession’ to get rid of when a ‘real baby’ comes along or when they want to move house and don’t want the cat with them, or when they face vets bills……and all the other reasons they make up stories for, like the most popular one that some human family member is suddenly allergic to cats. Pets ARE family members and have the right to stay in the family forever unless some disaster such as death happens to their caretaker.Elisa has never walked away from her responsibility to her animals like the people who caused all these poor animals to be on death row did.

    • Totally agree with you Ruth. Humans are again showing up their weaknesses – a tendency to carp and find fault when a little bit of recognition for the good Elisa has done wouldn’t go amiss. Also, as you say, let’s focus on the source of the problem. People who fight for the welfare of cats should work together, be unified. Cats need that.

  21. Yes there were 5 litters together but all were tested before leaving the shelter. We lost many to the feline distemper but so did everyone else. I even had friends who had their cats spayed at the shelter during this outbreak and they also contracted the disease. I admit the puppies had fleas and worms as we did not realize Advantage could be used on that young an age. We took Cujo in for worming and he has also had his shots. We plan to have him neutered when we take in Jasper and Sammy, who are our only unaltered females. I still have an email where i refused to take 2 fiv+ cats a month ago and was told they would be pts. We simply didn’t have room. Now with the number greatly reduced we will have no problem providing medical care for the ones we have. And please get ahold of whoever has the cats before only Garfield, Stitch and Pippa are unaltered. I’m afraid someone will have to go thru surgery that doesn’t need it. We now have NO cats with medical problems because we let go even the ones who have an “accident” every now and then. We don’t want a surprise visit where there may be a little poop not in the litter box. Did you know the shelter was 95 degrees inside the day I visited them? That’s why Misty looked so miserable in her photo. And the feces reported on the walls is soot. I had tried to wash it down and it doesn’t come off. We’re not making plans to paint that wall as well as the ceiling. There will be no more chipins. I know many people who pull cats who not only use chipins, but will not pull a cat unless at least a $500 minimum has been contributed before the pull. Animal control had cleared us 2 days after the initial inspection. If that much had been wrong we wouldn’t have been able to get things up to par in that amount of time. The visit Monday by the Sargeant where we were told we had a nice home. There will always be people against me. My true friends have stuck by me. I made many more mistakes with the dogs than with the cats. i admit that. I know everyone responsible behind this. I ruffled a few feathers and this was the only way to attack. The sad thing is I’ve spent the week defending myself instead of writing about the new euthanasia guidelines and other stories I want to research. I will continue to write, but our pulling cats are over. Animal control is welcome to come back out. There’s no law to the number you can have where we live as long as all are healthy and they are. I would hate to be as vengeful as some of the people I’ve talked with the past week. People have let dogs out where I live and I didn’t have the heart to take them to the shelter. Dumping dogs on private property is a big problem in my area.

  22. I have the vet receipts for the distemper kittens. One is for $166 and the other is for $201. I will send them t administrator Monday when I have pc access to pull them and he can post the on website. We lost Lilo, Sugar, Sweetie, Romeo, Juliet and Shakespeare. That does NOT equal 20 kittens. All those who pulled lost kittens last summer. Not just us.

  23. Can anyone recommend a good brand of paint for the ceiling that will cover the soot damage since it doesn’t come off? We hope to get that and the wall done by the end of the week. Sorry about the typos. The cell phone is finicky. And Michael, I really feel we will not be left to recover from this until we surrender the rest of the cats. By the weekend we will likely be catless even though I’ve stated we can care for the ones we still have. Dreyfuss will be put to sleep on Monday. And everyone say goodbye to Furby since if we lose the cats we lose him also. I just don’t know what to do to fix this.

    • I have not read all the comments. There is no need to rehome all your cats. Please don’t. What reason is there?

      As to paint. Give it an undercoat first. Undercoats have good coverage and will allow the top coat to stick. Takes longer though unfortunately.

      Use an extended roller (a roller on a long extension) working from the floor standing up. Use heavy pain that does not drip.

  24. Surely they can’t take all your cats from you! What will happen to them? What can we do to help you?

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