Julianne Westberry saga – seeking closure – identifying cats

Introduction: I confess that I am rather reluctant to publish this article because we have probably have had enough of Julianne Westberry. However, Eliza, has written what will presumable be the final article in this saga.

The reason for it is laudable because it seeks closure on the matter of identifying the cats involved. I think that this is a decent and sensible thing to do because after all these cats had owners at one time of one sort or another. The cats need to be accounted for. I hope you agree.

Here, therefore, is Eliza’s article.….


Some surviving cats of the Westberry cat hoarding sage

This article, possibly the last in the series on Julianne Westberry, is written to serve two purposes. All previous articles can be found following this latest article.

Since beginning these, I’ve been called a ‘witch hunter.’ I can assure everyone this is untrue. My main objective is to be sure this situation never, EVER occurs again. Hundreds of cats are possibly dead at the hands of this one woman who supposedly loves cats. Hopefully this story will locate a few more of the missing. It will also give those who have positive things to say about Julianne to do so here.

I’d also like feedback on whether what good Julianne did for however many years she was in rescue has now been canceled out by the deaths of at least 57 cats. Those are only the ones found dead in the home. A few of the survivors pulled from the Belton home aren’t expected to recover, due to organ damage caused by starvation. Whether any cats died at the farm, well, we’ll never have an accurate count on that.

Can someone who is responsible for so many deaths of beautiful, trusting cats ever rally back and become a respected member of the rescue community at some time in the future? Or will Julianne now be known as the hoarder who locked her cats in carriers, rooms in her home, and the crawlspace under her home without food or water and allowed them to die a slow and agonizing death? How do you bounce back from something this serious? Personally, I don’t think it’s possible to restore a reputation, once this much damage has been done. Julianne didn’t lose a bunch of cats to illness, which happens with a lot of death row rescues. She created a situation a cat couldn’t possibly live through. Trapped, starved and dehydrated is something done deliberately, and not an accident.

Personally, I have a lot of good memories of Julianne before her arrest. She was always quick to return messages on Facebook, and everyone in the rescue community thought highly of her. There were people in the rescue community who visited her home shortly after she moved, and there was no clue anything was wrong. Yes, Julianne has mental issues to deal with. The question is how far can a mental condition take the blame for leaving the cats alone, unfed, unwatered and-dare I say it-unloved? Keep in mind sociopaths and psychopaths also suffer from ‘mental conditions.’ That’s a medical diagnosis, and not an excuse for what happened to those poor cats.

I’m not surprised she still has friends who support her. There was a murder about an hour from me last year, where a man killed his girlfriend and four members of her family before killing himself. His family praised what a good cousin he was on Facebook. There are always people who will remain faithful to someone, no matter what.

Now for the second reason I’m writing about Julianne and her ‘rescues.’ Those of us in the rescue community have worked non-stop for the past week hunting down the almost 500 cats rescued by Julianne over the past year. Ash Truelove continues to add to the Dead of Alive album on her Facebook page. A few people have come forward saying they have one or more of the cats Julianne pulled from one of the near dozen shelters she rescued from. This is a plea to ask more to come forward.

Closure

This isn’t an effort to get a foster or adopter in trouble. We simply need closure that more cats are alive than dead. The number of those found alive has risen since many were dumped to fend for themselves on a farm. It’s sad a cat had a better chance of surviving a coyote than inside what was supposed to be a loving home.

If you have one of the cats in this album, please post a new photo to prove that cat is alive. We need some good news amidst all the death. If you don’t want to leave your name, that’s fine. Just please show us some of the cats survived, and that Julianne did some good during her time in rescue. Many of these cats may have been adopted out through Petsmart in the Anderson, South Carolina area.

Message to Julianne

Julianne, if you read this, please give us a list of those you know are dead. Only three have been identified from the house, and we need to memorialize those who died. Big Boy,Venus and Milly (along with their kittens) were identified through the microchips in these nursing mama cats. If you don’t know the names of those who didn’t survive, either from your Belton home or your previous residence, that shows how little you really cared.

I’ve included a few photos of cats who have made it out of Anderson County PAWS, and are sleeping in a comfortable home tonight.

Digit: This long haired beauty has an enlarged liver. They are doing iv and force feeding, with an exam scheduled for today. It will take a miracle for this poor beauty to survive

Lilly & Heather: Both are expected to recover and are doing well.

Tiggre & Buddy: Buddy was found alone and emaciated at the farm where many of the cats were left to fend on their own. Tiggre hasn’t been found at this time.

If you can help financially with the care of these cats, please send a few dollars to fothcas@gmail.com or smbob2@aol.com

For those of you who choose not to support Julianne, what was your breaking point. I’ll start out by saying my heart hardened toward Julianne after hearing cats were left to die in the carriers they were rescued in. This information is in the police report, and not an exaggeration. What was yours? And if you still support Julianne, please leave a comment as why you choose to do so.

Elisa

Prior Articles:

Onetwothreeon examiner.com

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Julianne Westberry saga – seeking closure – identifying cats — 46 Comments

  1. This has been a very distressing story but it had to be told because everyone needs to know about this person Julianna. She should never ever be allowed to have an animal in her power again!
    But as I’ve said before, the people who all those cats once belonged to should take a share of the blame too.
    Why were all those cats in Shelters, who dumped them there?
    Uncaring people who walked off and left them to their fate, that’s who!
    It happens time and time again, rescuers get overwhelmed by turning no needy cat away, they know they can’t cope with so many but tell themselves every cat is better off as one of many cats with them, than dead.
    I feel the pain for all those cats, the ones who suffered agony before they died, the ones dying now and the traumatised ones.
    But anyone who has ever relinquished a cat on a flimsy excuse shouldn’t have the nerve to weep and wail and point the finger at cat hoarders like Julianne without feeling guilty themselves.
    Cats are family, no one should get rid of family!

    • I agree Ruth. You are right. And this story is awful.

      Elisa is right about the fact they were left in carriers being the most terrifying thing I could imagine for a cat.

      Does anybody have a theory? Do you think she would literally take them home and leave them to die on purpose and just sit and watch them?

      Why didn’t she release them?

      Does anyone know these things?

        • Just like our conwoman ex ex neighbour, no feelings of remorse, no compassion for the cats, she didn’t even ask what had happened to them after she abandoned them.

          • I think calling her a hoarder is a cop out for her. She was con artist that took pledges and donation money for the care and vetting of 100s of these cats and kept it. I believe she did this with he foster/adoption children too took the money for them! There must be a reason the older ones who got away have nothing to do with her! IT WAS MONEY PURE AND SIMPLE!

  2. I’m sorry but ANY person who is STILL defending this monster is just as sick as she is. This is not an isolated incident of “snapping” as the murderer referred to it. This has obviously been going on for a very long time and I suspect that others knew about it and did nothing. This woman is very very ill BUT that is not an excuse for the heinous acts she committed to these helpless, trusting animals. I hope she rots in hell and prior to that lives a miserable life, hungry, scared, dehydrated and UNLOVED.

    • Maria, the general tenor of the other visitor comments agree with you. It surprises me greatly that some people defend her. They are also callous and indifferent to the suffering she caused. Your future comments will be published immediately without moderation.

  3. As far as I’m concerned this worthless POS should be locked in a cabinet taped shut (like the innocent baby kittens) or in a tight enclosure (like the ones left in their carriers) with no food, water or care and see how long she would last. She knew exactly what she was doing. And it was all for money. Her heinous actions are inexcusable and unforgivable. May her sorry carcass rot in Hell. And may the innocent victims rest in sweet peace.

  4. The carrier thing got to me as well. Santino and Chaz came to me in the carrier their owner sent them in. I sent them to a rescue in south Ga who sent them to Julianne because Julianne said she had someone to adopt them. All I can picture in my mind is Chaz and Santino sitting in that crate and dying. It’s taring me up inside. Their owner was going to euthanize them because she couldn’t care for them any longer. Now I spend my days wishing I would have let her euthanize them because I feel that would have been an easier end for them. If anyone knows them or has ever seen them please, please let me know.

    • Ah, Vicky, your comment made me feel sad. You aren’t alone. Other visitors have made similar comments. Thanks for sharing and the best of luck. Your future comments will be published immediately without moderation.

    • Aww that’s horrible Vicky they are so beautiful. The Carrier thing got to me as well as hearing she had previous done this before her dad died. Its just so cruel and wrong. I hope these ones made it im truely sorry for you. :'(

  5. I would love to have you reach out to the regional newspaper and ask them to post a full page ad asking the public to step up and let us know if they adopted a kitty from her and provide some pics of the kitties. Im in NJ and have no clue which paper to reach out to in that area. IF anyone does know, please let me know or if you are willing please contact them for all of us wanting closure. She pulled two cats for us that were turned over to us she said they were adopted. But we have no proof and would love to know that they did in fact get a happy ending with a forever home. If you can help please email me.

    • Vicky, I live in Michigan now but am originally from the Anderson area of South Carolina. I think the biggest regional newspaper to reach out to would be the Anderson Independent-Mail, with “The Journal” out of Williamston and Belton Honea Path News Chronicle being other, smaller publications. The Greenville News is one county over, but has a large readership and could definitely be worth submitting an ad to as well.

  6. The pain from this will never heal. I don’t know about the future and how I will feel but at this time I know she has taken away that feeling of joy and happiness when I walk out of a shelter with a cat or kitten that is going to rescue. That feeling that I have saved a life and they will go on to happy ever after is gone. She has not only taken the light from their eyes, she has taken the life from my eyes and my heart. These precious little lives look at me through the door of a cage and I wonder if they leave the safety of that cage will they die? We, the rescue community, could take them out in the country and dump them as she did. We didn’t need her to do it for us. The nightmares I have of the innocent crying from this neglect will never, ever end. Yes, Julianne, you changed the world alright, from what was supposed to be the place of hope. You changed it to a level of awareness that there is an evil out there that is beyond the human imagination. For those of you who do not want to come forward and tell us what happened to some of these to ease our pain – you are causing great suffering and a message that those who died did so in vain.

    • We will never forget this never people who work so hard trusted her gave her money to care for these animals which was all she really wanted was the money! Look at the Cleveland county post when she pulled every cat Dec 4th and got donations for them all!!!! Saying they were going to the Humane Society! Fraud, Cruelty and torture that is what she stands for for the rest of us!

  7. Poor babies. My emotions about that woman have whipped back and forth. I can understand breaking down due to loss of a parent. Now I read she deliberately left some cats in their carriers to die. I’m going to just put aside whatever I feel about her and focus on the survivors, and take solace that those who didn’t make it have crossed the Rainbow Bridge and are no longer suffering. It’s the best thing I can do for my sanity.

    • This is just completely heartbreaking. The more I hear, the more I truly think they died out of greed for pledge money…and that is so sad! I look at the kittens – and they are about the same age as two kittens I pulled 3 hours from being put to sleep at the end of April…and my two kittens are running around my house, romping away, completely happy and 100% healthy right now. They will get to sleep next to me tonight in a nice warm bed…with their bellies full as well as kibble and fresh water if they want to get up in the middle of the night to have a snack/drink as I sleep.

      They have lots of toys and other pets to play with…and they live a great life…and have a great life ahead of them with me. They are so lucky and blessed that they didn’t fall into the hands of JW and it is scary to think that they really could have because apparently, she was in that shelter around the same time I was pulling that mother and babies here. Just look at how fast that poor mother went downhill…and those innocent babies never survived. So sad and tragic to think about what happened to them in that house of horror. The mother looked healthy in April.

      End of June, she looks so sick – as well as blind…and tragically passes away in a shelter. The more and more facts that come out, I just can not stop crying over these poor innocent lives! I am a pretty new puller for Goathouse at Greenville AC…just started pulling a few months ago for them. I have also pulled for Meow House there too. I’ve pulled 12 so far, included the kittens I ended up adopting that I was talking about earlier. Every single cat looks up to me as their savior. Sometimes, I only get to spend just a few hours with them as I transport them to the loving, safe refuge 4 hours away. Whether it be they stay with me a while, stay with me overnight, or stay just long enough for a direct transfer…everyone one of them still falls instantly in love with me, and me with them. So…that being said…knowing how grateful each cat/kitten has ever been that I pulled from death row – this just breaks my heart. What kind of monster could do this? I didn’t know JW…and I’m glad I never got buffaloed into her BS.

      How can anyone defend her after knowing and hearing about cats being kept in carriers to die, locked in cabinets, and locked in crawl spaces? How about the poor white kitty “Big Boy”…who looked like he was such a cool character and a super handsome fellow…who was finally set free out of the crawl space only to take a few steps of freedom and fall to his death right in front of the police?? How could anyone, knowing all this, possibly stand up for someone that was so cruel and heartless. If you can not provide a better situation in terms of foster care/foster home for an animal that you pull until the rescue is ready for you to deliver – then you have no business pulling. :'( I hope if you know this lady, you hold her accountable. Do not make her into a victim. She’s not the victim. The cats were – and she was the persecutor.

  8. To leave cats in the very carriers that were supposed to carry them to safety and freedom. To trap cats in crawlspaces and lock them in rooms. To duct tape cats in cabinets for them to claw in panic until they finally succumbed to their cruel fate. This is not depression. It is a sick twisted woman without a heart or a soul! My heart aches for these babies. The tortured, the dead, the survivors. I will never understand how ANYONE, especially one that claimed to love the very thing she was starving, dehydrating…TORTURING to DEATH…can be so cruel, cold, and heartless. If she has a soul, may it burn starving, afraid, and alone in hell. There is NO excuse.

    • I 100% agree with you. She is not the victim. The cats were. No defending this. This is sick and twisted behavior. So sad…so heartbreaking. What’s really sad in all of this is that she’ll probably get a slap on the wrist and 30 days in jail (time already served.) She’ll just move away to another county/state where she’s not known so well for all of this…and start the same crap all over again.

  9. How shocking that JW supporters are offended that people are angry and heartbroken and don’t think that we should have a voice & express how we feel just like the innocent cats that lost their lives didn’t have a voice. Perhaps if their cats had been eaten by another starving cat in the House of Horrors or had been left in their carrier & died of starvation or was so decomposed that when the rescuers picked him up his head fell off they would think a bit differently. There is no doubt that JW was mentally ill-no doubt. Her intent is what is being questioned.
    There are 2 facts that stand out to me about this case.
    1. The windows were covered in newspaper. The people that had been to the house previously didn’t report seeing newspapers on windows. Why? Because the cats hadn’t been moved in yet. IMO this signifies she KNEW she had something to hide.
    2. In her message to the Fox News reporter she said she knew she had a problem but didn’t know who she could trust. The rescue community LOVED JW. Many many people would have stepped up to help her if she’d asked. Afterall, we trusted her with our cats and our money . Or did she mean she didn’t have anyone she could trust not to tell???
    The first step in any type of healing is taking accountability & apologizing for your behavior to those you hurt. I believe for the most part we were all very sympathetic at the beginning thinking she had “snapped” but when the facts starting coming out that this had been going on for years & one of the apparent motives was money I think we all started to think a bit differently . And for those of you who knew about this and did nothing shame on you!!! Her mother can quote scripture all she wants about throwing stones but she needs to remember when she’s pointing that finger at all of the VICTIMS of JW’s deception there’s 4 more pointing back at her!!! I personally have learned a huge lesson here & I am taking accountability . I will check out any rescue organization with the same diligence that I would check out a daycare for my child. And if they object to that, I’m sorry they won’t get my support. PERIOD! Meanwhile I’ll be praying for JW and sincerely hope she gets the help she needs & answers the questions that people have about the whereabouts of their cats. I have to believe that JW started out with good intentions but somehow took a horribly wrong turn. Wether it was because of greed or mental illness I’m not sure. But if I don’t believe this I will lose what little faith I have left in humanity.

  10. Wonderful Article Ellisa. Its such a horrible situation and I hope those supporting that lady see her as she really is. Its total Cruelty what she has done for these cats and kittens. She should be denied all access to any animals. It breaks my heart to know those poor innocent animals were left in cages and left to starve and they were such beautiful cats. I know a lot of people should take responsibility. I think there comes a time where we have to accept people need to get their animals fixed and not just let them have kittens all the time. Any Cruelty is abuse, Tougher Penaltys need to be in place that People who have knowlingly Abuse animals. Its so wrong and must be stopped.

    • I had a change of heart when I read cats were intentionally trapped under the house. Until then I believed she may have suffered some acute episode of mental illness. I still do not understand the cats that were legitimately cared for, fostered and adopted through PetSmart. I guess that was the necessary part of what Julianne was doing so she would not get “caught”? What do others think of the many she did help?

      • I only know what happened from what I have read here but if she saved the lives of hundreds of cats but callously let die through neglect a far smaller number she is still wicked as far as I am concerned. The saved cats do not cancel out the killed cats (through neglect) because the standard is to care for all cats well.

        • Yea i agree Michael, its hard to tell really. I guess when you read that she checked herself out of mental health care cause she said she didn’t need it, that was the turning point. Even after her mother tried to tell her she turned her away.

  11. I have reached out to the local paper and am awaiting a call from a reporter. Hoping we can get an ad or notice posted in the paper, one that may encourage people who adopted from her to step forward with pics of their cats. It will helps us account for some of them. Fingers crossed! http://www.independentmail.com/

    These are the two we are looking for.

  12. What is the source of the information that cats were duct taped into closed cabinets? I have seen that referenced twice in articles here but nowhere else.

    My turning point was the cats still in their carriers. That mental picture is heartbreaking. How could anyone walk into that house, time after time, and add to the horror taking place?

  13. I have been following this story with absolute horror. I’m in California so not much practical help. However, a suggestion — in addition to fraud charges for all the money she took, make sure you report her to the IRS and state tax authorities. I doubt she reported that income.

  14. This story makes me absolutely sick to death! As I sit here looking at my four kitties, thinking of them running around my house, playing, play fighting, sleeping in baskets, hogging the bed, running, jumping, breaking stuff (stuff that obviously means nothing to them…lol) all four laying on me when I sit in the recliner, running full speed from every corner of the house when they hear the food top “pop”, doing all the things that LOVED kitties do…it breaks my heart for all of the poor sweet souls who have suffered at the hands of this beast! If only the same things could be done to her…

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