A lot has happened in the week since Julianne Westberry of Belton, South Carolina was arrested after being found with 37 dead cats and 32 live cats in her home (based on what the police have said). Please click on this link to see the last article on this tragedy, which links to the first one (the link opens a new window/tab). This will be a long article, simply because it must be.
The only survivors from the house
Please take the time to watch this five-minute slideshow I worked very hard to put together. The photos were made by myself, Ash Truesdale and the staff at Anderson County PAWS.
You can see a photo collage of the surviving cats on this page (opens a new window/tab). As far as I am aware at this time 28th June 2014 they need a new home. Interested?
The cats in this slideshow are the only survivors from the house. The problem is, there’s no way of knowing whether Julianne ever bagged the dead and tossed them out like so much garbage. Had it not been for the person who reported the odor and flies after stopping to look at patio furniture, would Julianne have disposed of the dead cats in her home and no one been the wiser?
I call this a tragedy because none of those who worked in saving lives on the ‘urgents lists’, especially those at Greenville County Animal Care Services, realized this was going on. It seems everyone who knew her is now on a mission to make things right; to find the whereabouts of each and everyone we can of the more than 450 cats Julianne pulled over the past year.
Ash Truesdale is making progress on the cat photo album Dead or Alive. Ash and I both had the pleasure of meeting staff on Thursday at Anderson County P.A.W.S, the county shelter where the cats are being held. I say cats, but many are kittens, only a few months old now.
Most of the kittens handed over to Julianne are presumed dead. Almost every cat at PAWS is sick, emaciated and some have injuries. From my experience of being around many sick shelter cats, I feel these are going to make it. There are no white cats, no ginger cats or Persian cats. A few black cats and several tabbies are safe. So are a few Siamese and calicos.
At least the situation here won’t be holding the cat’s hostage like they have in the Golden S Ranch case, where Anderson County PAWS has had to keep more than 100 dogs until the case goes to trial. Many were in foster care until being turned over to Julianne to find what was supposed to be a loving forever home. The shelter staff is working just as hard as those in rescue to identify the cats in their care and get them to the person who loved them most before this nightmare began.
Diana Watson, evening anchor with Fox Carolina News, also made a trip to Anderson on Thursday. She spoke with the Anderson County Humane Society, who gave a statement about not realizing Julianne was using their 501c3 status and representing their organization to take cats from shelters in NC, SC, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Diana also spoke with Julianne via Facebook. Julianne is now saying she doesn’t know what made her ‘snap’ and allow so many cats to suffer. She calls her own behavior inexcusable. Hearing from people who have known Julianne for years, it’s come to light this isn’t something new. She may have been doing this for a few years now.
In the first article I wrote for PoC on Julianne, her former landlady tells of the damage to that home. They had to scrape up what may have been the remains of a dead cat from the floor. It’s just a shame no one caught her behavior in time. Julianne would meet people at other places many times to trade out cats. Her previous landlords say she would put them off at inspection time, giving Julianne time to have all of the cats out of the house.
Information has now surfaced that when moving out of her prior home, Julianne and friends were observed wearing heavy duty gloves and loading black garbage bags. Whatever was inside, it left a bad odor in the area they were removed from. This is disturbing, because if true, not only are there more victims, there are also others who knew Julianne for what she was and helped her rid her last residence of any possible evidence.
A plea is still out there for anyone who adopted or is fostering any of Julianne’s ‘rescues’ to please come forward, just so we can mark any cats who survived off of the list and quit searching for them. You’re not in any trouble, we just need some good news that some of the cats did survive. Many have already been found at a farm in the area, where Julianne dumped them. Those were the lucky ones.
Big Boy, a snow white beauty, is now dead. The baby kittens are all presumed dead. Venus and Milly, along with their kittens, are confirmed dead. Cottontina, turned into the Greenville shelter twice and last rescued by Julianne, is still missing.
At present, Julianne was charged with one count of ill treatment to animals. The community is outraged and believes she should face one count for each cat. Listed below are some phone numbers you can call to express your opinion.
- Belton Police Department (864)338-8448
- Anderson County Solicitor’s Office (864)260-4046
- Internet Fraud
- Mail Fraud http://ehome.uspis.gov/fcsexternal/
- Anderson County government http://www.andersoncountysc.org
As to the matter of Julianne taking funds using the good name of Anderson County Humane Society, that could turn out being the most serious offense. Several people have come forward who wanted to donate straight to ACHS, but Julianne asked for the money instead. That’s fraud. If anyone mailed Julianne donations using the USPS system, that’s mail fraud. PayPal has its own safeguards put in place. PayPal is hard to reach but does have an online resolution center where anyone who donated using PayPal can file a report. I’m not sure how PayPal will handle the situation, since no ‘merchandise’ was passed, or the time limit a complaint would have to have been filed in.
Julianne is home. After being released on $1,000 bond (meaning $100 got her out) and supposedly checking into and now out of treatment. Meanwhile, there are many of us trying to pick up the pieces of the mess she created.
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