Cat Fundraising Fraud and Bart the Zombie Cat

Dusty comments for miracle cat Cali before she deleted them
Dusty comments for miracle cat Cali before she deleted them. Click on the image to enlarge it.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The story of Bart, AKA Markie, who returned from the dead after being buried, has taken a new turn (see Zombie Cat posts). There have been questions brought up about the validity of the GoFundMe page set up to raise money to first pay for Bart’s medical care, then to cover the cost of an attorney to get Bart back. This is quickly turning into a legal mess involving possible fraud. This article (external site) explains the situation.

After Bart was taken to Humane Society of Tampa Bay in Florida, Dusty Albritton, neighbor of Bart’s owner, Ellis Wayne Hutson, posted a video showing Bart’s miraculous ‘rising from the dead’. Apparently this isn’t the first video she’s posted of a “Lazarus” cat. This is a copy of the video she posted in 2014, where Dusty tells of how she held her dying cat.

Word is now circulating that Bart was never really dead, and the entire Zombie Cat story was created to gain media attention and raise funds for a need that didn’t even exist. You heard right, readers. Bart’s death may never have happened, those who have followed this case closely from the beginning now report.

Now for the possible “fraud.” Here’s the GoFundMe page (as at 21st Oct 2016 the link no longer works so it has been deleted), started by Dusty, where she says:

“Monies will be used for Both to bring Bart home and his medical care when he is at home, I want to thank all who have been caring and praying for Bart and the owner. May God Bless you all. Refunds are available if you do not wish to help bring Bart home.”

This sounds well and good, until you realize the offer of a refund didn’t occur until word began to spread on social media questioning the validity of a fundraiser when Humane Society of Tampa Bay was footing the veterinary bill for Bart. So what was the money to be used for, considering this? According to a post on Dusty’s Facebook wall, which has been screenshotted, a lobster dinner may be one of the luxuries funded by the cat-loving public!

Lobster dinner
Lobster dinner

Dusty posted news of her generous neighbor on her Facebook wall.

“Then when I got home I had a major surprise Mr Wayne was barbecuing and it hollers at me does hey dusty come here so with a smile I go over he hands me a plate here this is for you I opened it up and its lobster I’ve never had lobster so it was quite a surprise for me and lobster is delicious oh my gosh I’m addicted I want more lol”

Keep in mind that Ellis Wayne Hutson is using the indigent (poor/needy) court-appointed attorney system available to people who don’t have the funds to hire an attorney on their own. A lot of people believe he’s using funds from the GoFundMe fundraiser for personal use, and/or that he misrepresented himself about being indigent.

GoFundMe has been contacted about the page in question, yet have refused to remove the page. Listed below are ways to report Dusty.

You can report Dusty and her fraudulent Go Fund Me accounts to the

  • Tampa FBI: Phone: (813) 253–1000 – E-mail: ta************
  • Hillsborough Sheriff: 813–247–8000 or submit an online inquiry here.

Go Fund Me can be reached at su*****@go******.com but don’t expect them to do anything. A Facebook page has been set up here for people who wish to follow these new developments.

Meanwhile, Humane Society of Tampa Bay report Bart is doing well in their care, receiving toys from admirer’s as far away as Germany. They plan to fight Bart being returned to his former owner.

Of course, with social media being what it is, there’s also the possibility Dusty has done nothing wrong, and the whole fraud accusations are false. Please read the article linked above by, as well as this one, and form your own opinion. And of course, express that opinion here on PoC. Especially on how fraudulent cat fundraiser webpages hurt those in rescue who need those donations to survive.

Sources and prior articles: three Examiner articles: 123

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

28 thoughts on “Cat Fundraising Fraud and Bart the Zombie Cat”

  1. Muireannwolfsbane

    Poor sweet boy.
    Hey did you guys see the picture of Bart in his new snazzy ride? It’s pretty awesome.

      1. I’d like to see the perpetrators of this scam prosecuted for animal abuse/neglect and fraud. They deserve long prison sentences for what they’ve done.

        Let’s hope the legal battle doesn’t drag on too long and that Bart can soon be placed in a loving home far from those monsters.

  2. They did go to agreement so the next step court Mr hutson has retained a lawyer which Dusty posted a written check on the gofundme to a lawyer which she took down then posted a video with her child waving alot of money so i guess the account has been used..

  3. There’s a mediation hearing set for March 5th between humane society’s lawyer and Mr Wayne…records indicate Mr Wayne has no legal representation…then where is the 6500.00 from the gofundme account? There was a check posted by Dusty for 3000.00 to go for a lawyer. Let’s home this will be the end for Bart and he gets an awesome home…but does she get away with 6500.00? Very confused here.

    1. Thanks for the update. She wants to retain the money I guess and will probably wriggle around looking for ways to achieve it. Mediation makes sense. I am sure the court encouraged it.

  4. Irish yes,,those funds didn’t go to bart. Dusty who owns the gofundme has taken the money and supposedly using it for legal fees by the previous its fraud…over 6500. Go to gofundme request your money please check out the fb page What’s going on with Bart the cat?….its all there

  5. It was Bart, but the medical expenses are covered by the Humane Society. Then the fund was changed to pay for a lawyer, but he’s using a free public defender. Get your money back!

  6. Wait one darn minute,I donated to Barts fund,are ye saying the cat posted with the beat up face and had to have his eye removed was NOT Bart???? and if not then wot cat did I donate to?????

  7. there is video where a woman states that Bart was moving when he was buried says it all I guess, that is bad enough But also the funding, people gave in good faith and now that funding has not gone to Bart’s care and from the looks of it won’t. But as they say justice takes time, so I am for one just going to wait and see.. something tells me this will all work out.

    1. Paul this is very similar to the Julianne Westberry case in SC where a supposed rescuer of cats collected around $22K and left dozens of cats to die. She has been charged with fraud and because of her deception people no longer donate like they used to to legit rescues. What Dusty has done will have an effect for a long time in the world of animal rescue because potential donators will woner if their money is going to a cat or for a seafood dinner.

      Please come back to this article and add any updates if you hear of any.

  8. In my opinion, Bart’s injuries were mainly to the head, which to me do not support the hit by the car routine, also there was a mention that he could of been attacked by a roaming dog but from what I know there were no Bite marks, Bart dug himself out of his make shift grave, at that point he was put in a cage for days without vet care and putting salt on his open wounds that had maggots in it. This was a horrid head injury, so really what conclusion is there. Also the gofundme account was set up for Bart’s med bills and when HS informed the owner of the fund how to donate at that point Dusty informed them that they wouldn’t be getting the money because it wouldn’t go to Bart. This fund was up to 7000.00 when the truth started to come out people left warning comments not to donate at gofundme and started to request refunds, Dusty did remove the comments then changed the title of the account to support the legal fees for the previous owner.(she did try another account just for legal fees and it got no donations) She did post a written check indicating that 3000.00 was going to a lawyer to get Bart back home and the rest was to go to Bart’s long term vet care. there are snap shots to support this, videos of cats dying coming back to life etc. HS will win this, and Bart will be safe, and the account well who knows, I guess we will see how this all plays out.

    1. This was a mistake that I have corrected. Wayne is Bart’s owner. Sorry for that. As for Rodriguez, he is the lawyer in this. I have removed him from this post. He features in other posts.

  9. You made an error in your posting in your mention of Thomas Gonzalez.

    Mr. Gonzalez is an attorney (Thompson Sizemore, Gonzalez & Hearing), per the HSTB website, has agreed to volunteer his time to represent the interests of Sherry Silk, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, and Bart.

    Mr.Gonzalez IS NOT representing Mr. Hutson,.

  10. It gets smellier by the hour. Is this an attempt to create a ‘celebrity cat’? Looks like that. With Grumpy cat making millions it encourages cat owners to exploit their cat.

    But how did Bart get the injuries? Was that part of the plan to injury him deliberately or was he injured in a fit of rage and then the plot was dreamt up.

    Thanks for the update Elisa. Dusty is one of those: not the full shilling as some people say in the UK. Others would simply say she is bonkers but doggy.

    1. He was likely hurt, but this neighborhood tends to not only have their cats spay/neutered, but also to withhold vet care. I’m glad I bumped into this update. The external site article on this was very thorough on what’s happening. And you can’t deny anyone who is seeking an attorney on grounds of being poor shouldn’t be having neighborhood lobster dinners. Talk about fishy!

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