Woman known for her compassion towards cats arrested

The cat rescue world in upstate South Carolina is in a panic this morning after the arrest this week of one of our own. This is the story of a woman known for her compassion toward cats.

woman who loves cats arrested

Julianne Westbury

Photo: Anderson County Detention Center

Julianne Westberry, 46, of Belton (Anderson County) has been arrested and charged with ill treatment of animals. Belton Police and Fire Department officials went into her home on Wednesday after following up on a tip of a horrible odor coming from the house. Inside they found more than 30 dead cats. One mother cat was mummified, with her kittens still trying to nurse on their mother. Another 30 cats were rescued, and taken to Anderson County P.A.W.S, which is the county shelter for Anderson. Some of the cats died en route to the shelter. The investigation is still ongoing, and more charges may come. I did an article here for Examiner, but wanted to add to it for my family here at PoC.

There’s still a lot of information that hasn’t come out yet, and I’ll update everyone when it does. Let me just say this situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. I’ve heard there will be people going in to scan for microchips to see where all of the cats came from. Although it will be heartbreaking, I hope someone will scan the dead cats as well. Just so we know who didn’t survive being neglected and starved. The reason I say this situation will get worse is because it’s coming out now that Julianne pulled (rescued) more than 158 cats from various shelters just in the past few months. She even went into North Carolina. My kitten expert friend Ash Truesdale is still building the list.

I’ve never met Julianne, but considered her a friend. When dogs were at risk of freezing to the ground this past winter, Julianne and I stayed online organizing search and rescue for pets out in the cold without shelter. For those of you who don’t realize it, I write an article on every cat and dog that I can who are at risk of death at the high-kill shelter in Greenville. I’ve seen her name a lot, because her name is brought up on any cat who doesn’t have a rescue and is about to die. Julianne would usually step up and save the cat, sometimes on the day of its scheduled euthanasia. I, along with others, always breathed a sigh of relief knowing a cat was safe with Julianne.

There are those in the rescue community more upset than I am, because they’ve either taken Julianne cats, or talked her into rescuing them. Several of my friends have been in her home, some as recently as May, and the home was clean and the cats in excellent condition. Julianne recently suffered a devastating loss when her father passed away a few months ago. But none of us who knew her saw anything out of place with her care of the cats. She was very trusted by what now appears to be shelters in at least two states.

I was telling my daughter about this tragedy as they told it on the news last night. She looked at me and flat out told me the signs were there, in that Julianne was saving a very high number of cats. She has on her Facebook wall that she works for the Humane Society. I haven’t verified that, but I wouldn’t doubt it’s true, since we all thought she loved cats as much as life itself. I feel for her, because I know what it’s like for people to make you feel guilty when you refuse to save a cat. I learned our limit a long time ago, but even at our busiest never had the number of cats Julianne had in her home. I still have an email where I was told two cats would be euthanized if I didn’t take them. I still said no. A person involved in rescue has to set limits and stick to them.

Do you think the pulling of so many cats should have set off warning bells with those of us who called Julianne a friend. I’d still like to consider her a friend, and hope the media doesn’t crucify her over this. She must have serious emotional problems, and I’m thankful she hasn’t killed herself. So many women involved in rescue have turned to suicide over the past few years. But it’s hard to call someone a friend when I picture mummified and dead cats in her home. And to hear even more cats died on their way to the shelter. And then I look at the list with the dozens of cats Julianne was supposed to save, and more than 30 of them have Examiner articles written by me asking for help in saving their little lives.

All the young kittens, possibly dead. The two cats taken after a homeless woman was arrested. They were fat and healthy and everyone was hoping the homeless woman would one day be able to get them back, because they were in excellent health. And sweet Doris, who was a twin to our cat Coral. I had begged every rescue I knew to save Doris. I was so relieved the day I saw Julianne had her. Is Doris dead? Did she suffer?

I’d like to hear any thoughts you have on this. Right now, every woman involved in rescue in upstate South Carolina is overwhelmed. We don’t know what to feel. We don’t know what to do. We don’t know how we can ever stop this from happening again.


Facebook Comments


Woman known for her compassion towards cats arrested — 206 Comments

  1. Tiggre and Buddy are the two who were turned in after their homeless caregiver was arrested. Everything was being done with the hope the lady who took such excellent care of them could one day get them back. When I heard of the mummified mama cat with her dead babies still latched on to her it about crushed me. We all wonder why Julianne didn’t reach out for help.

    • It looks like she might have become dispirited after her father died and lost the motivation. She may have become depressed. That seems to be the most likely thing that happened and because of that lost motivation and went down from there.

      I think it is very sad to be honest because if is she was coping well beforehand then she was doing lots of good but she appears to have always been on the edge of doing what was possible.

  2. I am truly saddened by this information. If she was overwhelmed (sounds like she was), she should have cried out for help. If her home was in great condition just a few months before, what happened to cause the sudden downturn? I pray for her and all the kitties involved in this. . . Hopefully, there will be a bright side to the end. . . God bless Julianne for trying. . .

    • all 11 of mine are adopted or rescued, I had 13 at one time, but I know that I am at my limit both room-wise and financially. . .believe me, if I had the room and more $$ I would help more. . . breaks my heart to see so many needing homes — especially with the STUPID excuses that some are surrendered!!

      • I try to write an Examiner article on every cat and dog at the Greenville shelter. The shelter has even started posting photos before the animal is available and that helps. Today and tomorrow the shelter goal is to adopt out 100 cats. Adoption fee is a case of canned food of $15.

    • That’s one thing driving us all crazy. Her home was fine last month. I think she had just moved in. But to be rescuing from so many shelters that none of us knew about. I think she lost part of her mind when he dad died. It hit her very very hard. A lot of shelter cats are in bad shape when rescued but if a cat dies you don’t just leave it where it died.

      • I am praying for her. It can be very devastating to lose a parent. Both of mine are gone, and it still hurts like hell, but I can’t stop living my life and taking care of myself, my son OR my kitties as a result. . .

        • I write as therapy. Started doing it November 2009 the day after I buried my ex from cancer. It keeps me together. I’ve done over 2000 articles now.

          • Believe it or not, my cats are my therapy. I have always called the anipals “little temples of God” for what they can do for us. There is nothing like coming home from work — and no matter what kind of night I’ve had (I work nights), and coming into the unconditional love and reverence they have for me. Everything just melts, and I get a huge smile on my face and in my heart. I truly cannot be without my “kids” (including my son — we are BEST friends).love and prayers — God bless!!

      • It broke my heart when my Dad died…but it did not turn me into a sociopathic abuser. I don’t buy that this house was fine one month ago…Don’t buy it AT ALL….Also saw where the house was adjacent to City Hall and the police department…I find it impossible to believe someone could be bringing in this many animals and NO ONE see anything…most likely the woman who finally blew the whistle was one of many who saw (and smelled ) the horror…but was, sadly, the only one who got involved. Thank God for her….

    • It is really about the age-old problem of decent people trying to clean up the mess left by irresponsible people. Unfortunately there are more irresponsible people than good people and so there are more unwanted cats than there are people to take them on and find homes for them and then the person gets flooded out with cats and can’t cope any more.

      • I know what you mean, but like you mentioned, one just must learn to set limits. I know I couldn’t take on any more and be able to properly take care of them. It’s such a sad situation. My heart just aches for the kitties I share and crosspost on facebook — especially when I read some of the lame excuses for surrenders.

  3. My heart breaks for the cats, and for all in rescue…jeez, there, but for the grace of God…
    my heart breaks and we want to save all of them, and do our best. If more would help, we wouldn’t have this sort of t hing happen.

  4. Then there’s cats’ most insidious disease of all, their Toxoplasma gondii parasite …

    deleted by Michael because it was too boring….repetitive and mind-blowingly paranoid.

    • How quickly you have forgotten the quiz, Jimbo.

      Can you follow what’s being written here, Jimbo?
      Can your mind follow the train of thought at all?
      Can your comments be relevant to the subject?
      Have you licked a bird’s ass recently so that your brain is filled with bird doo-doo?

  5. You’re failing the quiz again, Jimbo.

    Can you follow what’s being written here, Jimbo?
    Can your mind follow the train of thought at all?
    Can your comments be relevant to the subject?
    Have you licked a bird’s ass recently so that your brain is filled with bird doo-doo?

  6. I can so easily see how a kind hearted person can fall so deeply. into that situation.
    It’s incedibly hard to maintain the boundaries of what can be handled financially and physically. But, it just has to be done. I hate it myself.
    I agree that poor Julianne must have just snapped in her grief. I’m sure that, in her right mind, she would not have 30 dead cats in her midst.
    She doesn’t need jail. She needs help.

  7. I networked with Julianne last year to save cats from a local shelter. Because she had a large network of fosters in the area and was able to get free vet care from the Humane Society due to volunteering there, she was able to pull many at once. Many times the cats were broken up into smaller groups, all going to different fosters. She often knew exactly what she was looking for because, as she explained it, through her and her family’s connections through church and other community gatherings, it was not uncommon for people to let her know exactly what kind of cat they were looking for. Color, size, temperament, etc. She kept her eyes open and pulled with these requests in mind. There were many times she said she could not help, because she was full.

    I do not believe Julianne was a hoarder. I believe she suffered a breakdown due to more than one recent, substantial losses. People are fragile, and she needed help. Her error was in not asking for it.

    Of course my heart goes out to the many cats who suffered while in her care, but it also goes out to Julianne because one day she will have to face this.

    • Your comment makes me think of Julianne and how she feels now. It is must be really bad. We wish her the best. I hope someone is helping her and not treating her too badly.

      • That is kind of you, Michael. If we learn that this was just another hoarding situation gone bad (which they always do), it is still an illness. What we need are spay/neuter laws in this country but given the NRA and AKC’s interest in preventing them, it doesn’t look good.

    • If you know of any of her pulled cats who are safe please let me or Ash Truesdale know. Ash is very worried about mamas with litters and I’m worried about Doris. The dead cats have been scanned and the shelters pulled from supposedly. Have that info.

      • I posted on 2 of Ash’s pics today as I confirmed the whereabouts of 2 of the Harnett County cats. They were scheduled to go to Julianne on transport this week but instead are safe and sound with a local rescuer while they look for a new rescue. Info is provided on the pics as well as the rescuer’s paypal for anyone that feels like donating to her with these 2 unexpected guests.

        Like most of you that know her I too am and shocked and saddened. She is not a monster, just a troubled woman that needs help. I’m sorry these innocent cats paid the price, but I pray she gets the help she needs. Last year she organized a last minute transport at the end of November to get a euth listed senior black cat from Greenville, SC to me in Knoxville, TN. Without her help and the help of several others Lola would not be here with us tonight. I just keep thinking of all the Lolas out there, and it helps to soften my heart and not scream the obscenities and give into the anger that so easily spews from me when it comes to animal suffering.

        • “just a troubled woman that needs help”…?!
          54 cats are dead! She did not forget to feed herself. They did not even have water! Cats dead in the carrier – means they were brought in
          and never even looked at again! She did not forget thou to pay her cable bill with the pledge money!
          When I think what these poor souls went through?! Crazy or not – NO Mercy!

      • Elisa, I will let you know if I learn anything but I’m sure you will hear something before I do. Julianne had 3 of my friend’s cats in her care (friend was moving) and we are trying to get more information on them. Can you share with me whatever info. you get, too? Do you have pictures of the deceased cats?

        • Ash Truesdale is still trying to get info. Anderson PAWS scanned the dead cats and we hope they’ll help get the word out about who lived. I have the check her facebook page because I don’t hear well on phone so can’t call anyone. Julianne said they didn’t starve so I wonder what cause of death was.

    • Exactly, Suzanne. I think so many people get so self-righteous about things like this because they know it easily could be them.

  8. I just read her story… and I have to telll you I know exactly what happened… it mentions her father recently died… and I have to be honest.. that my mother recently died..

    I lost my father 9 years ago.. and all of a sudden it hit me. I am adult orphan.. and i have been in an up and down rollercoaster of emotions and phases… to the point that i have not cared about ANYTHING not even myself… and I have to be honest.. I have rescued and have fosters and..if it was not for my boyfriend (thank you for being up my ass) i would of probably slipped into and spiraled into some insane and overwhelming depression as this lady has done.. yes

    i will be honest there have been days i have not had the will to get out of bed and if it was not for him my cats would have not been fed or litters cleaned. My boyfriend keeps nagging me of the fosters I have here and I have not done a thing and to move them along… and at this point i dont even have the strength or will to meet new people interview them and do home check..trust me i feel for this lady once i read the part of her father dying..

    I am still doing through my mothers apartment its awful..i could be totally wrong…Iam sure her heart was in the right place.. just everything fell apart after her father passed away… and I also read in the article that people angry at her because they talked her into taking cats and they brought her cats… i am mad at the people because those people could of taken care of them themselves but get mad at somebody who is trying.. nobody knows what happened to her after her father died…

    I know recently when my mother died… so did I… please read this… and maybe not be so quick to judge her… thank you I speak for myself… and I am telling you I was telling my friend the other day how embarrassed i am of my life.. my house smells like it has never smelled before… and why because i fell off the radar of reality.. and as i said if it was not for my boyfriend…. I would prob be this lady… my heart goes out to her…and I know oh tooo welll on all those people that come to you crying because you save cats and they want you to save them also.. I have had people show up at my door and I have turned away..the thing is you know you have to have your limit..and sometimes realize you cannot save the world.. i feel bad for her

      • I was 47 when our late mother died, 20 years after our dad. I always remember an unsympathetic ‘friend’ saying
        ‘Did you think the world would come to an end just because YOUR mother died?’
        Well yes I DID think that, because most of us have never known the world without our mother have we!

        • I’m following the story on FACEBOOK. So terrible. But I do know how devestating the death of a parent can be. I lost my mom when I was 21 – my dad when I was 25. You take it one day at a time, but there were days when I couldn’t have told you one thing that I had done that day … it was all a blurr.

          • Poor you. I sense how you felt. You were young at the time. I lost my parents when I was about 60 years of age and it wasn’t that hard. I guess when you get older you are less connected.

    • I lost 11 people in two years including my last sibling and my mother- my father died in 87 and my other siblings in 1998.

      I agree death can be crippling- but I learned from my mother who buried three sons, her husband, both her parents, and all but one sibling( there were six of them) plus a multitude of cousins and friends prior to her death. You pick up your life and go on- there is no other real choice- you can chose to stay in the grief or you can work beyond it- and trust me there is joy to be found

      It has been six years since my mother died…and I do miss her and in fact I miss them all deeply- I had to rebuild my entire life. IT was hard work.

      But one thing I learned is this- every body deals with grief just enough alike to understand the depth to which it can take you- but every journey thru the field of grief is your own journey and you cannot compare to another’s grief or even the next time you grieve because there will be a next time.

      here is the other thing to remember- Grief cannot be the sole excuse- there was neglect- does not seem as bad as abuse- we all think that- but think on this neglect kills more children and elderly than abuse ever has- and it rarely is intentional- and that is the hard part- because there have all been moments when maybe we were not as careful as we should have been- but neglect is deadly just the same- In the end a Court of Law will judge her. It will either be proven to be true or not.

      in the meantime many of us who worked to save these animals are reeling from this- and that too is a form of grief. Please understand some of our reactions is a reaction to that grief.

      • Grief cannot be the sole excuse

        I like that observation. Good one. If she really cared for the cats I would have thought she would not have let them die all around her through neglect no matter how depressed she was. It would have taken a phone call or two to fix the problem.

  9. I think that rescue organizations should be required to show their ability ergo: space, labor, average yearly funding, and veterinary care arrangements at which point a maximum number of pulls is decided upon.

    When cats are adopted out or fostered the rescue is given back a pull. ALL foster families and adoptive families must be verified as real and true person and fosters by address and phone verification.

    Adopters by payment of fees and microchip registration. No rescue can be a one person show. To be recognized as a rescue with pull privileges a rescue must have a minimum of three (unrelated) administrative persons with access to the main and any sub facilities as well as all records financial, medical, adoption and foster.

    A record of at least two of these persons in attendance at main and sub facilities for similar hours each week would be required.

    • Well maybe not 3 admins. but at least one other in order to ensure the cats well being is and basic needs in the areas of health, hygiene and nutrition, as well as socialization are being met.

      • I think safeguards, checks and balances need to be in place so that be their burnout, breakdown, bankruptcy, or bad apple…they will not be capable of covering up,because they cannot work as a solitary entity and have pull privileges. I just a few weeks ago read a similar story involving a well known woman who rescued dogs… 37 bags of canine remains were found in a barn. She’s claiming massive distemper outbreak and unfortunately the nearly mulched remains of the dogs are not of a condition where cause of death can be determined.


        • I agree that there needs to be good safeguards. Perhaps a problem is that the rescue centers are keen to use people like Julianne because of the excess of unwanted cats/dogs and this puts pressure on them to be a little bit slacker than they should be.

          • you are exactly right Michael, shelters are pressured to be no kill, there is a horrible virus nationwide infecting shelters, a retro virus , “PCVAD also masks itself as other illnesses, making diagnostic testing essential,”
            “If you see circovirus and if it causes disease, we need to know what else you have in combination with it,” Halbur says. “Concurrent infections often accompany the virus.”
            virus is shed in feces, urine, saliva and respiratory secretions,
            Yet exactly how PCV2 plays a role in the disease’s manifestation is not well understood. Typically, the virus needs triggers such as co-infections and environmental stressors to result in PCVAD.
            “There are two thoughts,” Halbur says. “The most common is that there’s a new, more virulent PCV2 strain that has been introduced and has quickly spread. Another is that there is a new triggering agent, another virus or bacteria, that’s causing PCVAD to become more of a problem.”
            Making a diagnosis
            The disease complex’s varying clinical signs compounds diagnosis difficulties.
            PCVAD used to occur mainly in young, weaned pigs, resulting in extreme and sudden weight loss, jaundice, diarrhea, enlarged lymph nodes causing immune suppression and labored breathing. Hepatitis, nephritis and pneumonia often followed. Skin lesions, neurological deterioration, kidney failure and death characterize more severe cases.
            immunosuppressive condition associated with porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2).
            It’s a new name for what was formerly known as postweaning multi-systemic wasting syndrome. Dr. Pat Halbur, professor and chair of ISU’s Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, reports 2,360 confirmed PCVAD cases in 2006, compared with 964 cases last year.
            it came from the pigs into people swine flu, then birds bird flu then dogs now cats and can be transferred to and from humans

        • so many apply for the huge bag of money attached to them called pledges, some well over 300$ , must be at least 100 + before anyone takes them, many toss cats together and get more, i have seen shelters let a rescue take as many as 20 at a time that can be 6,000 bucks for vetting etc but goes in the pocket of “rescue” which is one household living off the money and the cats are tossed together never seeing a vet, sending money to vet instead of rescurers hand would stop this.

    • I agree completely. There should be records inspected for relicense at least once a year.
      Right now the state of South Carolina does not require this.

    • We have this in my state. We have to report to the state each year — number of animals we take in, number we get adopted, number that die in our care. Unfortunately, some do die despite our best efforts. But most thrive and are adopted.

      Does South Carolina not have a similar system? That seems ridiculous and yet I know a lot of “rescuers” that simply bypass the system by bringing in cats from out of state and likely don’t report them. Every time one dies (as they inevitably do without funds/vet care), they cry “FIP!!” and it’s on to the next one.

      So sad.

      It sounds to me like in this situation, this woman bypassed the system completely and pretended to be a representative of a group she volunteered for when in fact she was not authorized to pull for them.

  10. Woody, you are like an annoying child hanging onto mom’s pants leg and saying “buy me that” over and over until mom learns to ignore the behavior.

    You’re being ignored because you speak up too much and say too little that really matters. Poor Woody. It’s a shame Michael has to moderate the comment of an adult man. So sad…

  11. WOW Michael, from the looks of my notifications you’re going to be busy moderating comments for this article. WAKE UP!!

  12. I have worked with Julianne. I have met her at the Humane Society’s spay neuter clinic to deliver cats that she was rescuing from Charlotte. I fostered a mamma and baby and kept them that Julianne asked me to help with. She lives and breathes to help animals. Something is amiss.

  13. I heard about this today. Needless to say I am extremely upset, just sick. I had sent many cats to her feeling they would be safe and taken care of. Now, I can’t help but think they all suffered. I was lead to believe they would be vetted immediately. I understand she lost her father but that can’t be an excuse. I lost my father and mother a year apart, they were the loves of my life . I have limited myself to a certain number to give each proper care. There is no excuse watching them suffer in such a horrific manner. Sadly, hoarders get overwhelmed, want to be a savior for every cat but they end up being the cruelest. The reality is that every cat can’t be saved. It is heartbreaking but I find solace knowing they will be in heaven. I may be hard on her but hearing of the suffering infuriates me..

      • I inadvertently sent some private citizens her way in a cross post. Now I have to live with that. Their cats were very healthy a month a go. In reading her posts and activates posted in recent months I do not see anything that suggests she had a nervous breakdown. Everyone’s elderly parents pass away it is a fact of life. I was told she had adopted fostered children as well. When you adopt they do a pretty through mental evaluation and health check up. Where was the Humane Society she pulls for? Her mother, her daughters. If people were just at her new house a month ago how did all these animals die?

        • It is tough when that happens. I have read quite a few of these comments and also the author of the article is told me that they have now discovered 25 cats in drawers inside her home. I mean dead cats. So the more I read about this person the more I think she is a classic cat hoarder who completely lost her way as cat hoarders do because it is a mental condition.

  14. Well I hope the people who dumped their unwanted cats who ended up with Julianne, feel guilty right now!
    It’s a problem amongst rescuers that they become overwhelmed once people start to realise that person will never turn an animal away.
    Then when the well meaning person can’t cope any more, those who help to cause these problems weep and wail and put all the blame on her when in fact it’s mostly them to blame for disposing of a living animal like an unwanted old possession.

  15. I’d like us to think of this lady now. She must care for cats deeply. That is the impression I get from the comments. She has lost her dad and now her cats and is probably very depressed. Her life has caved in. I hope someone is looking out for her. I have a feeling this is not a crime (i.e. not in the public interest to pursue it). This is a person who needs help and some TLC.

  16. Are you seriously defending her? No amount of emotional trauma gives you license to be a monster! I would probably be less inclined to hate her if she took a gun and shot all of her cats. But leaving them to starve?….

    • I don’t think anyone is defending her. We should be careful about how we judge her. I don’t think we know all the facts but I agree that there can be no excuses even if she was very depressed.

  17. Sounds like she was managing and then lost her mind in the last month. That’s extremely sad. It also is a scary lesson. IF you are managing something, anything, and you are working hard at it and close to your limit – that’s all well and good but life can change from one day to the next. You MUST have a short term exit strategy in case of disaster. You have to ask others for help.

    I think it just at some point goes past the limit and the person then has to keep it quiet – keep it to themselves – and try and sort it.

    But to have left animals to rot means there was something very wrong with her mind or she was incapacitated in some way. There is no way she would have done it on purpose.

    Also. She loves cats. They are her life. Her father died and perhaps she felt more directly the value of life and the effect of death. Maybe it made her decide to not let another cat die no matter what. Maybe she decided that anything was better than letting them die in the pound. But whatever happened she lost a grip on reality and her sphere of responsibility. I assume the cats died because she was too busy saving other cats to feed those cats she had. I mean if she was sitting doing nothing she would surely have cleaned up the smell. I think she was manic. I think every moment was a desperate race to save another cat from being killed. She probably got home one day and saw a dead cat and felt horrible for neglecting it. But probably she had to run out the door and save another cat in a matter of hours, perhaps minutes in her mind or in truth.

    In my opinion the only thing that could possibly be more important than feeding a starving cat which you can feed 2 hours later (or so you thought) is if there is a cat which has a needle pointed at it and you are the only one that can save it. Maybe then you’d just run for it and feed the other one when you got home – thereby saving them both.

    But that’s not rational – it’s emotional. It’s crazy.

    This woman has allowed cats to suffer and die horrible deaths i her own home – cats who she was supposed to have saved. She has actually made many of their lives worse than if they had been killed. But she loves cats. It’s just she is completely damaged I guess by her father and now these poor cats. If there is one thing you can be certain of, it’s that this woman is suffering beyond words. She is her own worst enemy. And what’s worse is it happened so quickly it probably doesn’t seem real to her. Her life just went to hell and became a nightmare and that’s a terrible tragedy.

    No matter who you are or what you do or where you live – you can never take yourself for granted. Life can always suprise you. You can always suprise yourself. But being aware of the fact that at any moment things can change keeps you in check. It keeps you sane. It keeps you open to your own scrutiny and it forces you to consider everything critically.

    I wonder what idea made her feel the need to take so many cats. It must have been something to do with death and life and her father. Maybe her values on the subject changed radically when he died. Maybe she had a distorted view of reality such that she could not see the things going wrong in front of her for some reason. Maybe she thought everything was ok because she really went mad. Maybe she was talking to the dead cats.

    It’s not possible to simply call this woman an animal abuser. She is not. No way. She lost her mind and destroyed the last thing she loved. Can you imagine her pain, and then on top of that she loses all her cats, her home, her freedom and she gets branded an animal abuser and is punished as such. I can’t imagine how awful that must be, how devastating. There must be more to it. Maybe she got sick. Maybe she was taking drugs. Drugs make people do irrational things.

    Perhaps her relationship with her father was extremely important to her sanity or survival. The thing is that people will think to themselves how they would not do a thing like that because of various reasons like the fact that they would stick to a limit and they would ask for help if need be. People will judge her based on what the know happened. But these judgements and reasons miss the whole point.

    This woman would also have called for help and stopped bringing in cats too. She probably even thought about it before and thought how she would never do such a thing and she would know when to reach out or stop rescuing more cats. We are healthy and able, and so was she not long ago. It’s easy to do the right thing when you are able to. We take our sanity for granted basically, and that’s why it’s easy to judge her as having not done the right thing, or having done the wrong thing, and to hold it against her. But she was not able to do the right thing. She probably didn’t even know what was right anymore. Something made her psychotic I guess. Obsessive compulsive.

    People who wish to hold it against her should then look at it differently. This was not her. She seems to have vanished and been replaced. It will be devastating when she finds herself again and regains her sanity. She will realize what has happened – and she will be punished for it. She will feel guilt – and she will suffer PTSD from it if she does regain her sanity. I don’t think you can move on from that.

    When you lose your sanity even for a short moment I think you realize how fragile you are. How easily and quickly everything can fall apart. It must be a bit like waking up with an agonizing hangover and learning you caused destruction the night before – except that in her case she never even had a drink, her dad died.

    I find it extremely hard to have any animosity towards a person, who for 99.99% of their life did an incredible job helping cats and who seemingly managed to achieve a great deal, all the while remaining in control and within her limits. I don’t believe people turn bad or were always bad. I don’t believe she is guilty. It wouldn’t make sense. There’s a powerful external factor or force which made it happen. There’s a story within the story which we may never hear. Lets hope the people in charge of her future know all there is to know. If they do then I am sure she will be found not guilty and probably mentally compromised.

    I hope that she can again live with and love a cat. I think that is probably the only thing left that could motivate her to carry on. But she might not be able to face cats knowing what she did and anyway she might not be allowed to sadly. If she regains her sanity but is not allowed to live with cats it would be sad and a waste – and probably extremely hard for her.

    She just moved in?

    They say moving is the most stressful thing in life. Stress makes people do all kinds of things.

    Then there is grief. For me, grief was like clinical depression of the worst kind. No energy, no appetite, nothing to say, nothing to want, no motivation, no satisfaction, anxiety, no good sleep and a complete void of emotions. Can’t laugh, can’t cry, can’t concentrate, can’t decide, can’t change, can’t do anything really. It’s very debilitating and I can see that if her father died and they were close, the level of grief could be extreme and result in her being incredibly unmotivated or able to deal with anything. But the thing about that is that she was busy collecting more cats. Somehow maybe her grief was expressed through obsessive compulsive cat collecting.

    I can relate in that I have too many bikes. I don’t have the room. I don’t have them all. I have bikes I own but have never seen. I make myself hungry buying bikes. They clog my life. It’s a sort of contained insanity. When they ruin my relationship or drain my bank account or limit my life making me unable to make choices I would prefer I feel like I’ve lost the plot and been totaly irrational and I feel ashamed. I lie about how many bikes I have. I lie about how much I paid for them sometimes. I don’t want to give away the fact that I compulsively collect bikes. It’s like an abject greedy addiction. You can even deny you have a problem and not realize it for a while. When decent bikes start to rust in your garden because you have nowhere to put them you can no longer claim to be preserving them. IT’s all the same in a way, I’ve ended up destroying the thing I know and love. I’m bringing home more bikes that need alot of work whilst I have perfectly good unfinished ones rotting away.

    I think it’s a sort of greed. Having, is consuming, in a way, and once you own it then you want more. For some it’s the hunt which is the best part. The incredible rare bike you find in a barn or for a few bucks at a garage sail. It’s such a buzz. You wanna keep doing it. You start planning to cover all the garage sales in the area. I’ve found amazing bikes in garbage in Oslo, I’ve infiltrated every source of used or disgarded bikes in all the places I’ve lived, I’ve got bikes in 7 countries. I’ve got bikes in MI in 2 places, OK, CA in 2 places, NY, FA, MA, one just left to here from Puerto Rico – and I am probably forgetting others.

    I can relate in I’m own way to the compulsive tendency to be destructive and imbalanced in my enthusiasm and inspiration for bikes. They are not cats. They do not breathe. They do not die in the same way. They are not organic. But I love them and I care for them and I neglect them too. I am still confronted with actions I regret. Everytime I see an ugly scratch or a broken part which I caused through negligence or carelessness I feel ashamed of my actions. I’d be at pains to admit some of the damage I have caused to irreplaceable pieces of history.

    I think when something like this happens and surprises us all it is our duty to search deep inside ourselves for a connection or relation the lady concerned. It’s our duty to assume her innocence. We need to prove her innocent. Not just because it would make the whole thing so much easier to digest, but also because everybody deserves the benefit of the doubt. Nobody is immune to bad behaviour so it would be arrogant and vindictive to insist that she is evil, guilty and unforgivable. If you want to measure this in literal physical terms, the fact is she still probably has saved the lives of more cats than she has killed. Also she has probably done TNR so the effects of her actions are hard to quantify. She has most likely prevented many kittens from being born. So she deserves recognition for these efforts, for her dedication and hard work.

    Can we maybe then at least thank her for this while at the same time cursing her for that? She is going to feel misunderstood and we need to show her that we are fully aware of and appreciate all the amazing work she has done for the cats in her life. At least then she won’t feel like her capacity to be good has been forgotten. I think that would be devastating.

    • Nice comment, Marc.
      The part I like most is that there always has to be a plan in place for the “what ifs”. It hard when you’re crazy busy; but, it has to be done.
      Also, as hard as it is sometimes, we have to let go of our damned pride and ask for help when we need it.
      Like your bike addiction/compulsion, saving cats can be that way too. It would be so easy for me to fall into Julianne’s position. I understand it completely but have to stay grounded.

    • Nice comment.

      You MUST have a short term exit strategy in case of disaster.

      Things change in life. It is always shifting and it can be tricky to keep up. And it is possible to end up in a bit of a hole.

      Also if we want to work out he net contribution to society it would probably work out in the positive in relation to cats. I don’t have the full facts but my impression is despite this outcome she spent many years doing good work.

    • This was happening long before her father died. I adopted my daughter with Down syndrome 21 years ago. Julianne adopted her 3 sisters 10 years ago. Only one still lives at home. The two older ones will tell you horror stories of the condition of their homes and the cats. I have seen and been in her homes and the odor was horrible. They all smelled of cat urine as well. The cats were sickly, left outside, dead in the road, you name it. She tried to get me to allow her to keep cats on my property. When I saw their condition I had to say no. I didn’t want my dogs and cats to get sick. That is when she moved them to Murdock Road, 160 there and how many more in other places?

      • One of the places she lived and destroyed was our house in Honea Path. We finally got her to move out the weekend of May 17. I had not been in the house she rented from us for 2 years and 9 months. When I walked in the first time all I could do was gag, the smell and devastation was more than I could ever imagine. It took us a week to just scrape the cat feces off of the floors and out of the closets. We have thousands of dollars of damage done with no recourse. We have ripped up carpeting, drywall, linoleum and what was once beautiful hardwood floors. We may never be able to rid it of the smell. I found cat feces on top of the kitchen cabinets with chicken bones the cats had left. On the carpeting we ripped out of the bedroom was what had to be what was left of a decaying body…we are saddened she could pull the wool over our eyes the way she did when we signed the lease with option contract with her for two years.

        We thought we were giving her a chance at home ownership, but we were sadly taken in. We, after the fact, unfortunately went to her last known address before us on Redwood St. in Belton, and were devastated to smell and see the damage to that house. The smell was horrific. Sadly after talking with our lawyer there was nothing we could do to get her out of our house. My husband made several home inspections and the smell was terrible but there were no cats at the house during the inspections, and we thought the smell was coming from her belongings from the previous house. On the last inspection the smell was unbelievable. He found cat feces layered in the bathrooms in the bath tubs and in the master shower, it was horrific. She had put carpeting in a corner to cover up a huge pile of feces and urine that he didn’t see until she finally moved out. The walls had been sprayed with cat urine and the smell was unbearable. She tried to tell us the house was in such a mess because of her father dieing ,but her father had been ill for over a year and was elderly.

        We have many pictures of the living conditions in the home when she moved out. She had not even been sleeping in the house for months. She would just come to the house every few days and stay for 15 or 20 minutes then leave and be gone for a few days or a week or more, so I’m sure she was dumping cats in the house. We don’t know where she was sleeping or staying at that time. She paid her rent faithfully every month on time with no problem until our lawyer sent her a letter and told her to leave then she quit paying the rent. I can’t imagine the horrible life the girls must have had with her, I pray the girls get some help. I spoke with one of her daughters that told me its always been like this and she and her sisters had begged Julianne to get rid of all the cats and clean up. She had been laughed at in school and teased because of the smell I assume coming from her clothes. She finally got away and found happiness.

        The only one left is the 16 year old girl and she helped her mother move out of the house so she had been living under these conditions. I just hope no one will follow in our footsteps and rent a home to her because I believe she is a habitual hoarder of cats and I’m sure she will do this again. At least the owners of her new residence have the luxury of having help to clean up, my husband and I are the only ones working on our house and each month its putting us further and further into debt and we are an elderly couple on a fixed income. I’m very sorry about the cats and kittens as I am an animal lover, but I only own what I know I can manage. I lost my father and I didn’t stop feeding my dog or taking care of my home. And my husband lost his closest brother the same week Julianne lost her father so we understand the grieving but its been months and its time to move on. I think she is very aware of what she did and has done in the past.


          • And believe me MIchael, I have worked with Julianne for some time now rescuing cats, and have been in contact with her. There was no indication or red flags that there was a problem other than her mental state over the loss of her Dad. But all these people coming forward NOW, when they aware of a possible issue long ago,is going to make me reconsider how much longer I will continue to live in a state and devote every waking hour to rescue, where so many people could be so indifferent and allow something like this to go unnoticed for so long.

        • Christine, I’m sorry about the animals and yes it is a tragedy, but Julianne was very good at covering up the smell and the damage when my husband asked to look in the house. There were never any cats present. We had to give a 24 hour notice and she had to be present for him to go in. She would put us off with excuses of having to work or being out of town, giving her plenty of time to hide cats and clean up a little. She kept crazy hours and would come and go at all hours of the day and night. The girls never complained to us and we had no way to prove she had cats in there without going in when she wasn’t home which was against the law. She always had the windows covered and the doors closed. We are in our 60’s and 70’s and thought we were a little old to be going to prison for breaking and entering.

      • It really would have been responsible for people close to this situation to have spoken up YEARS ago. Where was the Division of Child Services ? How is it possible that this could have been going on for so many YEARS and YEARS without ANYONE speaking up ????



        There is something interently wrong in the state of South Carolina for this to have happened, and for people to have allowed this to happen.

        • You make a good point but perhaps your point applies more widely to many cases of cat hoarding. I feel confident that someone knows when someone is hoarding and getting things very wrong before animal control finds out.

      • I have to know why this wasn’t reported to someone? If anyone knew she kept cats in horrible conditions and dead on the road why did it go on? Much could have been done it seems. This comment really saddens me.

  18. I just find it all so incredibly sad. Sad for the cats as well for the woman. It does sound that there should be a clinical diagnosis for her here, and most likely, the diagnosis will explain in multitude what’s going on. Someone mentally ill, can’t necessarily be held responsible for their actions. What needs to be done is they need to be given medical help. I feel that any single one of us animal rescuers could slip into this terrible outcome. No one is completely immune. I myself am very guilty of taking on way more then I can handle, and am even more watchful and careful these days of what I commit to. Overall, tho, I do feel this is a failure of our society in general. Too many don’t want to do with the animal overpopulation in this country-world actually- and it is really every single human’s responsibility as we created it. The only way it’s going to get under control is if we put in place some very strict rules concerning animal ownership in general. I have given word to those specific ideas before, and get called an “extreme-ist” when I do but this is just another example of why it needs to be done! The problem isn’t with the animals, it’s with the humanity in general!

    • I just find it all so incredibly sad. Sad for the cats as well for the woman.

      This is a fantastic point because it some way the story sums of what is wrong and tragic about many aspects of life in general.

      • it requires some severe changes in our laws and our societal views as a whole. That animals are our property; that we have a right to do what we want with that said “property”; that cats are “free roaming” animals; that animals in general are secondary, or inferior even, to humanity. My thoughts? 1. require anyone to have to take a pet ownership class and get licensed, just like to drive a car, before being allowed to own ANY pet. 2. Anyone owning a pet without this licensing should be penalized 3. shut down all breeding whatsoever!! no puppy mills, no backyard breeders, no “good” breeders, nothing. 4. TNR like crazy. 5. Only allow licensed pet owners to adopt from rescues/shelters. no more buying purbreds, highbreds, nothing. 5. Severe penalties for cruelty, neglect, abandonment, etc. for licensed owners, and all privileges of said license taken away forever! That’s how I view it…so sad this this kind of extreme needs to be taken in the first place.

  19. Today I’m hearing Julianne has gone to the hospital for treatment. People are going thru her home and have found more than 25 dead cats in drawers and closets.

  20. From what I’m hearing now Julianne is at the hospital asking for help and people have found more than 25 more dead cats in drawers and closets at her home.

      • Recently there was a case where a woman took her dead pets with her each time she moved. We don’t know how long the cats have been dead. And finding at least a few dozen more…

      • The mother and babies would look mummified if she left it sitting on the back porch in the hot sun baking. All their bodily fluids would come out then evaporate. Cats do not have a good tolerance for extreme heat. Also the ones laying in puddles of their own fluids inside the house suggests the air-conditioning was off and they had no water. As far as depressed I am not buying it she was sending emails a couple days before on the rescue she would be away at a educational conference. And she sent one of the shelters she pulled mom cats and babies from a donation for food for their shelter cats just a few days before she was arrested.

  21. Here’s the latest info. Ash Truesdale, one of the best at saving cats, has worked most of the week on this. The album is public. If you have one of these cats, please contact Ash and upload a photo under that cats thread. We’re trying to find who’s safe. https://www.facebook.com/Heyyoashley/media_set?set=a.10154314819700014.1073741832.508440013&type=1&comment_id=10154326683850014&notif_t=comment_mention

    Also, I’ve started a public album on those who are safe. There may not be many and the problem is going to get worse before it gets better since more cats have been found.

  22. I know I might sound harsh to many but this woman should be locked up in a mental hospital.The death of a parent would be shocking and as my mum has a terminal illness and I care for her daily it will hit me really hard when it happens.i also suffer from severe depression so I have compassion for anyone who for whatever reason has depression but come on when you have any living thing in your care no matter what you DO NOT let this sort of thing happen.giving good people the impression you will help care for the animals that are in your care and this happens,what a joke.This woman should never be able to own,foster or ‘save’any living creature again.This is why people who have multiple cat households are often looked at as hoarders,looked down at by others and made to feel like there is something wrong with them.I would think most people who have many cats have them because they love cats and want them to have a good life.This woman is what people compare the cat lovers with multiple cats to.She makes it bad for the real cat lovers who no matter what happens their furkids are always looked after and if you can’t personally care for them for some reason find someone who can.Also I can’t believe that this has all happened within a couple of months,a mummified cat,how long would that take.If anyone starts to feel sorry for this woman just think of those poor kittens trying to feed off their mummified mother cat,how sad.

    • I have to agree with you. At first I was more sympathetic but these comments have changed my mind. She seems to be a classic cat hoarder gone bad surrounded by dead and dying cats – gross neglect and cat cruelty. If that is the conclusion her arrest is correct and she should be convicted and sentenced. But it is bad as you say for cat lovers because cat haters use these cases against people who do a good job caring for rescue cats.

      • The big problem like with many crimes,for some reason people feel more sorry for the offender not the victim in this case victims.If this woman has done this and it is proven she must be punished in some way because if she is let off whose to say she won’t do it again like so many criminals do.If it is mental illness then she should spend time and a lot of it in a mental hospital and if not she must be put in prison.we are far too soft with the penalties that are handed out for animal cruelty and that is scary considering alot of serial killers kill animals before they start on humans and of course for the pain they cause the poor animals they target.Cats are beautiful animals and at the end of the day are my kids and my best mates so anyone who for whatever reason can let them die a long,cruel death deserves to suffer too.If someone did this to a group of human children there would be an uproar but if it happens to cats,people actually feel sorry for the offender,i don’t get it.

      • My friend Ash is creeped out because they were texting back and forth just before police came. This woman could hold an intelligent conversation surrounded by dead cats. The Humane Society will be giving a statement soon because julianne was using their 501c3 status to rescue the cats. Julianne also had cats at more than one property. We’re hoping the shelter where the live cats were taken will release info on who survived. None of her fosters are coming forward to tell which of the more than 400 cats are safe.

    • Yes i have to agree, Suffering from depression myself is not a reason to not look after your animals properly. Esp seeing ones dead. I would be an abustly mess if i had to deal with that. I have 5 and thats enough for me. How could one self live in that environment with the smell and im just imaging if some of those animals were not fixed.. I had a friend that was a classic Hoarder. She had 22 Cats i got Rebel off her. Thankfully now shes not allowed any cats,as they all got taken off her thank goodness. although she does still try. Its a sad world we live in with all animals now and humans. I hope for the day when all animals are treated with respect and loved and not abused. That harsher pentaltys are put on people who harm not just for 6 months.

  23. Which Humane Society’s non profit status was she using? I hope it wasn’t the one that gave the other “alleged” hoarder in Belton an award recently. IMO, rescues need to start policing each other, or as more and more of these cases occur, rescue opponents are going to use them against us. One other comment, it sounds like the poster “mc” above is saying that she needs help. I’m a dog rescue person so will bow out here. I was just wondering what happened in Belton and expected it to be someone else that, from my understanding, animal control has visited and overlooked.

    • Everything is still very up in the air. Julianne has on her Facebook page she worked for Anderson County Humane Society. Turns out she made phone calls for them. She was using their 501c3 to pull cats without their knowledge. I’m keeping an eye out for the HS to make a media statement. Ash Truesdale is over finding all the cats she can to see who survived and who didn’t. There’s also trapping going on somewhere she let out a bunch on a property. I’ll be writing a complete article once the story breaks. I know more than I can say here but I can’t chance it being wrong info.

  24. As someone that suffers Clinical Depression i can understand how hard it would of been for her after her father passed. As usually when u get depression motivation goes out the window along with everything else. im Horrified that there are dead cats and kittens. I think she was suffering from a major trauma for this to all happen. Its a real shame and really sad she wasn’t able to reach out to someone. Hoarding is a major problem. Its hard to imagine people taking in a-lot of Cats. I dont know how people can cope with over 10 that must be so expensive plus be hard to deal with. I find it hard with 5 but im not complaining. I know the feeling on wanting to heal a void or an empty place but sometimes we got to think realistically. Thats a good idea of marcs to have a plan in case it doesnt work out. Has things do change.

  25. I am freaking out right now. I heard the news about Julianne and it has blown me away. I felt like I needed to find out what I could about the situation. I found this website by searching Julianne’s name and information about the charges against her. Julianne is an old friend of mine.

    We were very close friends more than 15 years ago. However,she started distancing herself from me when I became engaged and then married. I will tell you that she is very much OCD…I have known this for along time. She is also someone who likes to be in control of situations and relationships. I think this is why she distanced herself from me when my husband entered my life.

    As for the cats, I am totally shocked!!!! When I knew her, she would have gone without eating herself to make sure her cats were fed and taken care of. Her house was always neat and clean. She usually had about 4 indoor cats who were very well taken care of and loved and fed and loved on all the strays in the community. I know she must have snapped. I saw her a few times years ago in passing and spoke to her for a few minutes and didn’t see anything different with her….so I am not sure when she began to have mental changes.

    Maybe it was when her dad died. I knew him and her mother well and she was very close to her dad. I did feel like she was constantly trying to do good for her dad and maybe her work with rescuing cats was an accomplishment she could share with him….maybe it didn’t matter as much when she lost him….but the Julianne I knew so long ago…NOTHING would have caused her to let a cat die intentionally…especially the number this happened to. Also, she never would have left dead cats in her home. Something had to have happened to her mental status.

    My question is this…who has her youngest daughter? I just hope her daughters are doing ok after all of this. I can only imagine. Really, I think at one time, Julianne’s heart was in the right place concerning all the cats she saved/tried to save. I had no idea she was rescuing to the degree I read on this site. She told me a few years ago when I ran into her that she was volunteering at PAWS but did not mention the major cat rescues. She definitely had an OCD for cats, which grew out of control.

    She is in my prayers right now. Her family is in my prayers, as well. I am sure they are affected by all of this in a very bad way. I am a cat lover as well and have two precious kitties of my own (I had two other cats when I was friends with her who have since gone to Heaven of old age related illnesses….Julianne actually loved on my cats and watched them for me when I was out of town and I trusted her completely when them)…

    I feel absolutely horrible for all those precious cats/kittens who suffered and died. Again, having known her in the past (very well…went on vacations with her, ate in her parents’ home, etc.), she has most definitely suffered some sort of mental breakdown. Thanks for letting me share.

      • You are welcome. I just thought those who haven’t known her for a long time should hear that she was not always like this. I have spoken with four or five of our mutual friends and my family members who knew her and they all say the same thing. All of us are very surprised by what she has done. I think all of these friends/family and I agree that we would not have been surprised if she had a very large number of living cats in her home, but never could have any of us imagined multiple houses with cats and NEVER could any of us imagine her ever letting cats die and keeping their bodies all over her house, hidden in drawers, etc. Makes me wish I had kept in touch with her after I saw her a few years ago…maybe I would have seen the signs and got her help….but apparently she was very good at hiding her symptoms, so maybe I wouldn’t have seen that she needed professional help. Who knows? Just glad she is somewhere where she can get help now.

      • You think the daughter is with Julianne’s mother. I sure hope so. I hope she has been there for a while. Sounds like this poor child has been exposed to way too much these past few years. I am so sorry for her and her sisters….breaks my heart. I am so sorry for Julianne’s mom…my heart breaks for her, too.

  26. I do have to say this.. After reading up on 3 separate hoarding incidents these last few weeks I do think there should be courses taught to rescue groups, shelters and SPCA’s about OCD and Hoarding.
    Myself I do have an OCD and if I had allowed it could go from spotless house where everything is fine cleaned even under the trim with a toothbrush, but if I allowed it it could go the totally opposite and turn into a disaster. But also my difference is I limit myself to what I am able to handle with cats (sadly I had to turn down a cat on death row because I was at my max for what I have personally set to take in for cats at a time and for what I feel I can personally handle)

    What makes a person turn this way? Even with OCD and depression! there must be some other way than allowing a bunch Of Cats and Kittens in your care to suffer and then pass away, knowing a lot have suffered..I couldn’t do that to my cats, the cats in my care or my kids.
    And heaven forbid if I ever got to the point where I knew something wasn’t right with me and things were going down hill, I’d be making some phone calls to other rescues In my area and people on social media..
    Also too, throughout my kids life I have taught my kids not only about physical health but mental health also. I even had taught them about situations and had them think about different scenarios (For example one of the scenarios what if Mom, Dad, another relative was acting a certain way that was out of the norm..what would you do?.)

    With more and more hoarding cases popping up and this happening more frequently, there has to be something done to educate others of this..
    We are doing good at educating on saving lives, rescuing but not enough on OCD, hoarding other mental health issues..
    It would be nice to see more information being taught even on rescue burnout.

    I know myself I do not want to be known as a crazy cat person, I want to be taken seriously and be known as a person who is trying to make a difference in the lives of the Cats and doing something to make changes to the lives of the cats and for the community around.

    (My apologies about any spelling errors, errors in grammar and punctuation)

    • I do think there should be courses taught to rescue groups, shelters and SPCA’s about OCD and Hoarding

      A good thought. Education might well reduce the number of hoarding cases. These people need to understand themselves better I believe. They seem lose sight of what they are and what they are doing.

      Thanks for sharing and no need to apologise for grammatical errors etc. 😉 There were v.few.

    • Oh, don’t worry. They’ll just call themselves “rescues” and “cat sanctuaries”, file for tax-exempt status, beg and plead for donations, and you’ll all still stay non-the-wiser. Cheering them on until they’re in the news again.

      You morons JUST DON’T GET IT, do you. LOL

      Yeah, your “no kill” concept is JUST so wonderful. The only other option is then to torture them to death due to an over-saturation of cats to the numbers of people who want them. And you’ll be witnessing scenes like this for the rest of your sorry, foolish, useless, misguided, misinformed, and pathetic lives.

  27. Everyone seems to be forgetting one thing… most of these cats that she took from shelters had pledges go with them. That is more than hoarding. Last estimate I saw in cats that she took in last year was around 400. Most of these cats came from shelters, so that is a lot of money in pledges. This amounts to a lot more than hoarding.

      • I’ve heard of a few who wanted to donate to Anderson County Humane Society because she was representing them in all of this without their knowledge. She told people the pledges were to go to her, not the HS. That’s what will really bite her in the butt when this investigation is over. I’m not sure how a mentally ill con artist will do in this area. People are pretty mad right now. Some have hired attorneys to get their cats back. It’s usually police for the shelter to hold the cats until after a hearing or trial. That could take months. Meanwhile an extra 30 cats at the shelter may mean death for some of the ones there when these arrived. I’ve offered my writing to them and am working on their code red dogs tonight.

  28. She did all of this for monetary benefit ONLY. No ifs, ands, or buts about it…Fraud, another crime that I expect and should be charged and coming her way…

    I’m curious to know what kind of supplies were found in the house, i.e. litter, food, meds, etc. That’s what the pledge money is for, and something tells me these items were at a very minimal, if any, were found in the home.

    I’m so sorry little kitties that you were punished through no fault of your own. Run free, run free to never worry again…Now it is time for us brethren and sistren to act towards never letting this pure evil happen again…

  29. I think one thing this situation goes to show is we much all take a bit more involvement. Especially to people who rent houses, etc to hoarders. There have been hotel rooms where hoarders kept cats as well. If someone goes in to clean after someone moves out and they find a few inches of feces and the strong urine smell, perhaps it would be a good idea to give that information to police so they can try and find the person at their next address. This situation never seems to go away when a person moves. They take it with them.

    If I EVER know of anyone taking cats into a home and then not returning for days, you can bet I’ll be the biggest snitch out there. This case reminds me of the story I wrote here.http://pictures-of-cats.org/cat-dies-in-abandoned-house.html. People knew this cat was there and abandoned and even took a photograph but no one helped.

    The problem with most of us is we thought we knew Julianne and trusted her. There were apparently quite a few who knew she had problems who remained silent. Were you afraid you’d hurt her feelings? Didn’t think it was your place to say anything to anyone?

    I’m just glad some of the fosters are coming forward to verify some of the cats are safe. Hopefully the death toll won’t be more than 100, but you never know. How many cats were scraped up and thrown out that police didn’t find. Her former landlady thought she found what was left of a cat carcass. Did Julianne throw them out like so much garbage? Did she bury any? This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

    • There were apparently quite a few who knew she had problems who remained silent

      This is the impression I get from the comments and also that she had a pretty well known history of (mild?) mental health problems and being a bad character to be honest. I highlighted a comment by a person who knew her well and that comment supports what I have stated her. We want to think the best of her but it appears from these many excellent comments that she was bad.

    • Yes, I remember that story :'(
      I would break an entry, I would be at animal control every day the whole day to get the cat out… RIP poor baby…

  30. Let me just state out by saying I have known the Westberry family since I was born. I swore I wasn’t going to comment on any of this but I can’t handle anymore being said about her “tragic loss of her father” and her losing her home. First of all, she refused to help her mother while her father was failing in health and could not be reached when hospice told the family to come in.

    She never showed up before her father died and when she finally was in touch her exact words were ” there were cats that needed my help”. She lost her past few homes because of the number of cats which were against her rental agreements.

    She was not supposed to have even one animal in the current home. She moved in and did not stay there but at her man friends home. Yes, she has mental issues but these are not from any recent event. Her father loved her but recognized she had a problem long ago and he refused to be alone with her. I did not comment to bash her but to stop all the comments on her dad’s passing causing this breakdown. She is currently getting help although she states she does not need it and is wanting to check herself out.

    • Best comment of the lot probably. She is just bad it seems to me. She preferred to help her cats than her father but actually hurt her cats. Quite mad. Thanks for commenting.

    • Wow! Very interesting information. During the period of time I was friends with her, I thought she had a very good relationship with her dad. Of course, I haven’t been around her in many years and haven’t seen her with her parents in many years. It sounds like her relationship with them did change. I sure do hate that, especially hate it for her parents. Do you know how her brother is handling all of this? As for being fraudulent, I can not speak to that. I never knew her to be a con artist, but I do know that people can change and some people are very good at hiding things. Maybe she had me fooled all that time….or maybe she just learned that she could make money off of the cat rescue and figured out a system over the past few years. I do believe she has a mental illness…I’m not so sure now, after reading the information you posted, her OCD or other mental issues are an excuse for what happened to all those innocent cats and to the property of all those renters. I will say this again…the Julianne I knew more than 15 years ago would never have harmed a cat even for money. If I had ever seen this coming back when I knew her, I would have definitely stepped up to get her help. I never honestly thought she would have evolved into this.

  31. I don’t know why the other cat people in the area didn’t check on her.i have a hoarder nearby. I offered to help her clear her house out and leave it spotless.not for her sake,but for the animals.She refuses to throw anything out.screams and curses at me. total bitch who knows exactly what’s going on but is so controlling, as most hoarders are,its their way or no way.calling authorities would just get all the animals put to sleep.so I go there 3x a week,(i have enough of my own and get home at 9pm) i threaten her,and make sure there’s clean boxes,plenty of food & water,bathe dogs,etc.-She says she will call police,I tell her if they see her house they will lock her up. If she would get rid of the piles of junk,she has a 3 bedroom home with a full basement.i offered to clear the rooms and leave only food & water dishes, cat let boxes & cat trees,to make cleaning and care simple.But she won’t.She also leaves her doors open.several cats were hit and I kept several &found them homes 1 by 1. PLEASE! Get together as cat people.force an agreement that everyone gets inspected once a week by the group so things getting out of hand are corrected quicly & animals don’t suffer.you must stop the “i dont want to get involved”.If not,take the animals and call police. They deserve nothing but jail if they refuse help.

    • Good comment. If your experience is anything to go by it is almost impossible to communicate with a cat hoarder. OCD comes to mind (“but is so controlling, as most hoarders are”). Have you considered getting animal control involved? Or what that just cause more problems.

  32. Well Michael you got a lot, and i mean a lot of comments on this post Congratulations!. I was sad to read that she had previous trouble before her dad had passed. She obviously is in denial of it all which is usually the Case . I agree Michael Education is the key, and maybe a limit on how many cats people with hoarding or high risk mental health. In saying that it would be hard to police. I just think people like ths not be allowed to have over 10. I have 5 cat and could never have over 6. Just my views as this is just horrible.

  33. There is something that I am not understanding about this case and and hoarding. From what I know of hoarding, there is an emotional attachment and the hoarder does not leave the cats, at all. From what I understand, JR was or had not lived in the residence at all, only going there to drop off the cats.

  34. She has been released from the hospital. I very seriously doudt she has recently much help because she still believes she has no problem. Her daughter needs to be protected from her and the grandmother does not have the resources to raise her. Somehow she will get more cats during her time awaiting trial and from what I am hearing she already has some stashed at her boyfriend’ s location.

  35. We need to have the same compassion for each other–especially other people trying to help animals, even if they fail–that we do for the pets. It’s hard because they are helpless to care for themselves and when someone fails them so spectacularly, it seems like a personal betrayal.
    But it’s evident that it is not a betrayal, but a breakdown in this woman’s own psyche. Sometimes when you lose someone it feels as if nothing else matters, no matter how much they did before. The fact that Julianne was living amid 30 dead cats shows that she had broken down. Prior to that, from what I’m reading, she was a dedicated cat rescuer who really did help.
    I can’t imagine letting my kitties go to hell if something happens to me and they are my major concern if I am worried about my own ability to be here or function, but everyone isn’t the same.
    I’m glad some of the kitties are least were saved and the damage was discovered before more were killed. I wish instead of being put in jail, Julianne would receive some real help. I truly don’t believe that this was a deliberate betrayal of the animals or the rescue movement, but the actions of a woman who died inside without anybody noticing until she took some of the kitties with her. The saying about charitable work is that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anybody else. But when you have a house filled to overflowing with cats who depend on you and you break down, how are you supposed to do that?
    I am so sorry for the kitties and for Julianne too and hope all who survived, including her, receive help.

  36. Good shelters/organizations that had diligent screening processes refused to work with her….sometimes its not all about just getting the animals out the door. Euthanasia at a shelter would have been a more humane death then slowly starving to death for weeks.


  38. It’s obvious that you rescuers love animals deeply and your sole mission in life is to help as many as you can. Have you rescuers ever considered pooling your funds together and buying a cheap piece of land that you can put a fence around. You can then house all of your cats there collectively. And then each one of you can take shifts and twice a day go visit the cats and feed them and tend to their care. And later you can get some volunteers to offer you additional help with this sanctuary. This way, you won’t be overwhelmed with work and can share all the tasks.

    • Interesting suggestion but I am not sure it is workable. Perhaps you realise that. It means cooperation between many people for a long time. Difficult. Also cats don’t like to bundled together necessarily. Cats are somewhat sociable these days but essentially solitary. There are also complications with contagious diseases and overall health issues.

      We do care for animals deeply and I hope you tell that we are not stupid. I hope you can tell that we might be smarter than the average animal abuser.

      • Smarter than the average animal abuser? Now that’s a laugh. Throw some more of your cats under the wheels of cars, let them lap-up antifreeze in a gutter, let them fight for territory and their very survival — no different than anyone who runs a criminal dog-fight ring to see who wins.

        YOU are the cause of all this. I hold YOU personally responsible for every last cat that must suffer to death just because you are too spineless and heartless to give them a humane and peaceful death the one time they could have been given that.

        Cat Sanctuary = Putting a larger and larger bucket to catch the flow from a severed artery.

  39. I feel very ashamed right now. I believed the initial stories that this was an evil woman and a sociopath deliberately adopting kitties and claiming to be a rescue for the money then starving them to death. I hurled a lot of invectives online, especially on Facebook. I have to eat my words now. I didn’t know she’d lost her father. I lost mine in 1995 and while I didn’t hoard and neglect cats, I did lose any sense of a moral compass for several years, and probably a good piece of sanity, too. I understand how heartbreak can screw your mind up so badly that nothing and n one else can matter but your own pain.

    If it later comes to light that the initial stories were true, I will deal with that later. right now, I can’t help but feel like a schmuck for being so quick to heap abuse on someone who most likely didn’t intend for those things to happen. I just react first and question later when kitties are involved.

    • I have to say that while she may have lost her father, she must have lost her compassion for animals as well. No amount of excuses can bring back all of those innocent lives lost. I saw one story in which she had moved out of one home (likely around the time this was getting crazy) and was seen carrying out multiple black trash bags wearing heavy gloves – with someone else helping her! Now, she may have been depressed or cut off from reality or whatever, but to engage others in helping and dump more kitties on your boyfriend’s farm to fend for themselves….well, these are CHOICES she made. No excuse, she needs to be punished to the furthest extent of the law and placed on a registry for those who abuse, neglect, and mistreat animals – so that she can never do this again.

    • Please read this post:

      “leighwood on June 26, 2014 at 1:07 am said:

      Let me just state out by saying I have known the Westberry family since I was born. I swore I wasn’t going to comment on any of this but I can’t handle anymore being said about her “tragic loss of her father” and her losing her home. First of all, she refused to help her mother while her father was failing in health and could not be reached when hospice told the family to come in.

      She never showed up before her father died and when she finally was in touch her exact words were ” there were cats that needed my help”. She lost her past few homes because of the number of cats which were against her rental agreements.

      She was not supposed to have even one animal in the current home. She moved in and did not stay there but at her man friends home. Yes, she has mental issues but these are not from any recent event. Her father loved her but recognized she had a problem long ago and he refused to be alone with her. I did not comment to bash her but to stop all the comments on her dad’s passing causing this breakdown. She is currently getting help although she states she does not need it and is wanting to check herself out.”

      Now she is out getting more cats and she will continue torture and starve them to death, she must be stopped.
      There should be a registry for people like that. They have to have regular visits from animal services to check if they comply!

      • Dina your comment is enlightening and for me hammers the last nail in her coffin. She is a monster. She seems to have sociopathic and psychopathic tendencies. Unfeeling and manipulative. That is what I get from the comments.

  40. Now she is out and getting more cats and she will continue torture and starve them to death, she must be stopped!
    There MUST be a registry for people like that. They have to have regular visits from animal services to check if they comply!

    I am for “sharing” Urgent cats and posting pledges,
    I am sure a number of cats are getting saved, but even larger number is falling through the cracks. There has to be a some measure of accountability. There should be some laws to protect them from abuse and hoarding. It is hard to trace where each cat went… but something can be done to make people account for them. You want pledge money?! They will be paid directly to the vet. You need food for animals – the pledge money can go into account in the as the pet store credit. You got any cash handed to you – provide picture of each cat and how they fair weekly! 🙁

    I know this would be very controversial to put some sort of fee for keeping pets or for each pet. Maybe even $5 – $10 per month or some discounted yearly fee. Nothing drastic so it will not prevent people from owning pets, but the funds will be put to creating “Animal Social Services” – these that would have to discover and supervise people like her.
    Because too many times I hear – convicted hoarder moves to another state and does same s-t all over again!

    I have 4 cats, my older ones about 5 y.o. now were picked up from the street by my friend as kittens and adopted to me. I got my other two through a wonderful rescue about 6 month ago, and two wonderful foster moms were looking after them before I was able to get them.

    So there are people who are responsible and working for the animals, and then there are people who just don’t fit to do that job or plain criminals! 🙁

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