The cat cruelty cases of Terry Ray Beasley and Tamara Perezlazaro, and that of Julianne Westberry, to name two, are good examples of why it is sensible to be cautious before donating to people involved in cat rescue who you only know from Facebook. I know that Facebook is very useful for networking and spreading the word amongst cat rescuers. But I also know that Westberry conned a lot of kind people into donation money. It seemed to me that she was involved as much in fraud to extract money from generous, cat loving Facebook “friends” as she was in cat cruelty. She was driven by money and this lead to cat abuse.
Terri Wolfe and Susan make the point that in some of these cat cruelty cases it may be better to also prosecute under fraud; extracting money under false pretences. Apparently, sentencing is more severe if a person is successfully prosecuted for fraud. This is not surprising because the victims of fraud are people and the law protects people better than pets.
This brief article came about because of a comment by Cher Burrows (see it below). She was commenting on the Terry Ray Beasley and Tamara Perezlazaro case as reported by Elisa Black-Taylor which stimulated a lot if interest because they are very cruel. This case drums home the dangers of being drawn in to so called friendships on Facebook.
Lori says this:
She solicited many good people for pledges and anything else she could squander….I work in Fayetteville and live in Dunn, so I was asked to transport cats she had adopted on numerous occasions. I have transported many cats for lots of rescues, even taking them to rescues 3-4 hours away (and I have never received ONE cent) so I gladly helped. No one knew what she was doing, because in the beginning, I think she did the right thing. The cats she dumped had been extensively vetted (probably at the cost of the good people that donated to her), so how was anyone to know that she was capable of this? I could have never imagined that she was such a vile, disgusting bit*ch! I was like so many and sucked into this perverse scheme! My heart is truly broken…..
This is Cher Burrow’s comment:
One way to help avoid tragedies like this and the Westberry incident is to STOP donating to people you only know from Facebook. If you can’t personally drive to a rescue and meet the people running it,on a regular basis and observe where cats are housed, don’t send them money. Licensing and 501’s mean squat.
Don’t fall for those pull at the heartstrings posts on Facebook or pleas for cats from people you don’t know, people who can truly be anyone they choose to be on the internet.
Taking the word of other Facebook people vouching for rescues or people that they have never met in person is hardly a personal reference.
Especially Beware of people or rescues pulling cats from out other areas no where near where they are located.
These scams are still out there. Hundreds of cats have been and are still being pulled and dumped in the woods and elsewhere by a few unscrupulous and yet licensed rescues in Georgia. Many people donate for this unknowingly and the donations pay for personal gains such as new car payments and fancy meals out. House cats fending for themselves outside alone is often a death sentence.
Don’t let your kind heart be stolen. Find a local shelter or rescue near to you to donate to and where you can personally go and see what goes on.
Buyer beware. Lives are depending on donors to know who they are really donating to.
Together they provide a welcome warning about donating and helping cat rescue colleagues on FB. That is not to say that one should abandon FB as a way of helping cat rescue. There is a lot of good there.