This is the first time since the Julianne Westberry case began on June 18 that I’m able to bring the readers of PoC good news. LOTS of good news. I’m happy to report the cats taken from the farm belonging to Marshall Shaw are now in a safe place, and ready to begin their new lives. Here’s a brief update on what has happened over the past week.
On July 2, Anderson County Animal Control began trapping cats on the farm owned by Shaw. I believe the count trapped so far is 37, unless more were brought in on Monday. Since these cats were “owner surrendered,” they didn’t have the holding period granted to strays. Anderson County PAWS made an announcement the cats would have until 6 p.m. July 7 to be out of the shelter. This infuriated the cat community. Not only in South Carolina, but worldwide.
Gareth Jones began a petition asking Anderson County PAWS to give the cats more time. Ash Truesdale held a meeting July 3 with PAWS director Jessica Cwynar. I’m not sure of all of the details, but things snowballed (in a good way) from there.
Cat lovers refused to stand by and watch these cats die due to space at the county shelter. Any time there’s a puppy mill raid or a “dog” situation, the shelter has been great in finding space for dogs. The issue was brought to the attention of the shelter that to show less to these cats would be a total lack of respect for these survivors, and would endanger the shelter’s reputation for a long time.
Then a miracle occurred. One that could save all of the farm survivors, and give those fighting so hard for these precious cats the time to find the rescues or shelters originally pulled from. This would greatly increase the chance for a forever home. Diana Rigler and her organization, Foster Paws, along with the Kitten Action Team have secured a building on Butler Road in Mauldin for the next six weeks. A business owner offered it to house the cats, and animal advocates spent the weekend preparing it for the new arrivals on Monday.
The cats (I’ve heard around 35 so far but haven’t confirmed) are now settling in to their temporary home. Sadly, many are pregnant or have kittens. Greenville County Animal Care Services is good about spay/neuter before a cat leaves their facility, but apparently other shelters don’t have a hard rule on this. It’s possible some shelters believed Julianne would take care of ‘fixing’ some of the cats, since she represented herself as being more at Anderson County Humane Society than she actually was.
So now we have sick cats, emaciated cats, stressed out cats, pregnant cats and new mothers. It’s good they’re in excellent hands with the mostly ladies (I’m not sure whether any men are involved) who are volunteering at the Mauldin facility.
The first group of survivors arrived late Monday. Several kittens came in without mothers, but since several mother cats who had recently nursed and no longer had babies have stepped in to feed these orphans. One group of kittens may belong to a mother cat trapped last week. At least now all of the cats will get plenty of food and health care to help them pull through.
The generosity of the property owner, along with a community that has come forward to support these cats, means the frantic pace to find where these cats came from and who they should be returned to is lessened.
Any additional cats trapped by Anderson County Animal Control will be picked up at PAWS and brought to Mauldin. They will not be at risk of death due to time constraints or lack of space. All of this is going to take money. Listed below are ways you can help these poor kitties.
- Amazon Wishlist
- YouCaring donation webpage
- PayPal email@example.com
- Jewelry sale to help survivors
All survivors will be checked for a microchip, and the original shelter, rescue, foster hopefully can be located. Any cats not claimed or whom the original shelter wishes the cat to go straight to a rescue or forever home will be found a family who will love that cat forever. These cats have been through a lot, and the upstate community caring for them wants to make life as beautiful as they deserve from this point on.
Before any of the cats are adopted out, they’ll be spay/neutered, be up to date on their vaccinations and microchipped. Things that should have been done before being released to Julianne.
As for Julianne, no more information has been made available. She’s currently charged with one count of ill treatment of animals and animal torture. Marshall Shaw, who surrendered the dozens of sick, emaciated cats dumped on his property hasn’t been charged with any crime at this time, despite many of the cats losing much of their body weight in only a few months time. Julianne most likely won’t face charges on these cats, since they weren’t found on her property.
You can keep up with the Anderson kitties here on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/andersonsurvivors