“..cats had eaten other cats” – update on cat hoarder Julianne Westberry

This is an update on the tragedy that befell the cats belonging to Julianne Westberry. More information has been released, but the investigation is continuing. This is a very, very disturbing situation, so if you get upset easily, please don’t read any further. The original story on PoC can be found here, and at this time has more than 140 comments.

Pearl 17 yrs old rescue cat
Pearl, a 17-year-old survivor of Julianne Westberry’s house of cat hell
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Many people are stepping up who paint a different portrait of the loving animal advocate we thought we knew. Her Facebook page is also taking a beating, as there are many who are still standing up for Julianne, despite the fact that DOZENS of dead cats have been found.

According to The Belton and Honea Path News Chronicle, a total of 94 cats have been recovered from the home. The incident began on June 18 when someone stopped at the home interested in buying some porch furniture. That person notice a horrible odor and flies covering the window. A call was placed to the Belton Police Department, and Julianne was contacted by phone. Julianne told police she wouldn’t be home until the next day. At this time, the Belton Fire Department broke down the door.

Inside they found 37 dead cats, all at different stages of decomposition. There were bags of cat food scattered across the floor, but no water for the cats. Dead cats were found in pet carriers. Live cats were also seen eating the dead cats. There were 32 live cats removed from the home. A few never made it to Anderson County PAWS alive. One of the officer’s involved stated in an incident report

“I also observed where cats had eaten other cats. In the back bedroom, I observed a dead mother cat that had three kittens that appeared to have been nursing. We found dead cats under furniture and in closed-bedrooms, and while outside, we heard a noise under the house. I opened a small door and a white cat walked out from under the house and fell to the ground.”

Julianne returned to Belton on June 19, and was arrested and her bond set at $1,000. From what I’ve heard, she checked herself into some sort of treatment, but is now saying she doesn’t need it and wants to come home.

Two more cats rescued from Westberry's hoarding
Two more cats rescued from Westberry’s hoarding

There are a lot of people defending Julianne. Yes, she did work as a volunteer for the Anderson County Humane Society. From what I’ve heard, she placed phone calls to set up appointments for spay/neuter. From what the near dozen animal shelters she pulled from are telling, Julianne was allegedly using their 501c3 status to take the cats. Personally, I’ve been contacted by one person who asked to pay a pledge to the Anderson County Human Society, and Julianne had the money personally paid to her. There are likely many more who did the same. The Anderson County Humane Society will hopefully make a statement about the situation before long.

Meanwhile, Ash Truesdale continues to work on the album of the more than 400 cats Julianne “rescued” over the past year. Many cats were taken to “the farm,” where they’re being trapped where they can be placed into a safer environment. Several who know Julianne have said many of her cats escaped her home and were run over. Those let loose on the farm are among the lucky ones.

To see all of the cats “rescued” by Julianne, here’s the page. I’m attempting to keep an album of those found alive. All of us affected by this deceit are hoping many of the cats were adopted out, either through PetSmart or by private adoption. Fosters are beginning to come forward, no longer willing to support Julianne since more information on her true character have surfaced.

The cats taken alive to Anderson County PAWS may be held there until a judge releases them. This is upsetting a lot of people who fostered cats before turning them back over to Julianne. One person that I know of has secured an attorney, as Julianne didn’t own the cats left in her care by this person. Hopefully an attorney can get the cats belonging to an individual released back to the legal owner.

Please feel free to leave a comment on this or the previous article. If more charges or filed or the situation changes with the cats, I’ll write yet another update for PoC. Personally, I’m afraid more dead cats will turn up, since Julianne apparently had more than one property where cats were held.

Before forming an opinion, please look at the photo of Pearl, a 17-year-old survivor of Julianne Westberry’s house of cat hell. How can you support someone who allows an elderly cat to live under these conditions?


133 thoughts on ““..cats had eaten other cats” – update on cat hoarder Julianne Westberry”

  1. I need assistance. I am trying to report a similar situation but fear that it also involves criminal activity involving animals. The police, HSUS, animal control all pass the buck and do not help. How do I get a particular situation investigated? They are smart enough to not have the animals where they live. I am very serious and sincere. Please, justice needs to be served as many animals are not only suffering, starving, they are being violently killed.

    • Hi Ben,

      I am surprised that the police don’t want to get involved. Actually I am not that surprised. They aren’t that interested in this sort of criminality. It is tricky because all your notifications to the authorities have come up blank. What you might do it publicise it on the internet. You can do that anonymously on this site for example – just write another comment about what is going on and I’ll covert that into an article or two – or on Facebook.

      Some pressure can be applied these days online. It can produce results sometimes. Are you able to get some hard evidence? Photos and so on? Probably not. Publicising it online can produce comments and input from others which can lead to ideas and other courses of action that can resolve the matter.

      I’d like to hear more from you anyway because we are always trying to improve cat/animal welfare and exposing cat and animal abuse is one way of doing it.

      Thanks for visiting and sharing. Your future comments will be published immediately.

      • Ben, Can you get the TV news folks involved? They love a good sensational story.. especially if they know the authorities are slow to act on it. Sounds like what happened in Forks, Wa. Good luck.

  2. Elisa would probably know better than anyone else, but does anyone know if those cats have been tested for FeLV & FIV? I also wonder how many of them may have been exposed to FIP since they were in such horrid conditions. I would think the shelter/new fosters would test & re-test in a month for FeLV & FIV. Since there’s no test for FIP, I hope any who were exposed just throw that virus & don’t transmit it to other cats. Poor guys. Keeping them in a shelter won’t help, but other cats who would be near these guys would be at risk. Just another issue w/ hoarding.

  3. Firstly, I want to say this as I know what I am about to say is going to draw fire.
    I work in animal rescue. I have 10 cats, 9 of my own and one foster. I’m currently temp fostering two little ones.
    This is incomprehensible to me, and beyond understanding. I’m as upset-horrified and sick as everyone.
    That said, I work as a counselor/social worker. My specialty?People like Julia who become the madpeople that give animal rescuers a ‘bad’ name, and make mainstreeam media paint many of us as crazy cat ladies.

    Most people who start off, are You, Me, the lady down the street, the person up the block. They aren’t crazy, they aren’t ‘cat killers’. They love cats (and/or dogs) Somewhere along the way, something drastic changes. They can’t control it, they become overwhelmed. They can’t say no, they want to save every cat.
    And they can’t.
    They stop adopting them out because no one is good enough for their cats. They may become angry and emotionally exhausted. They think people owe them, and they make themselves believe tht the cats couldn’t be in better hands.
    Most of them don’t understand what’s happened. They can’t get a grip on it. Are they doing it, letting animals starve delieberately?
    I don’t believe so.
    A part of them, that part that holds them to reality, to asking for help, denies that they need to ask for help.
    I don’t understand it any more than anyone else does.
    Why do I work with these people?

    Because-there but for the grace of God go I.

    I pull cats off ‘death lists’. I worry about cats in situations that are dangerous, where they could be harmed or killed. I work with two excellent rescues that support me emotionally and put the kabash on me and fellow rescuers when we become overwhelmed.
    I love my cats with my whole heart-and I help however I can….but sometimes it never feels enough.

    Am I horrified-extremely and I read the article because I have met rescuers seeking cats places, and my heart is with them. I am leery of turning cats over to anyone, including ‘sanctuaries’ for this reason…and I worry about those that have-

    I’m so sorry for all of this-it’s heart rending and terrible. I hope every cat that survived gets a wonderful home. I hope that everyone finds their rescues…and that somehow, something comes from this that is positive, if only an awareness comes that we have to realize that looking at any one person as the answer isn’t the answer-…..

    my heart goes out to all and their beloved babies.

  4. im not defending JW but the root of this is the system of heartless Euthanasia of cats and dogs. this will not have happened and other horrible stories of cat kills via euthanasia if it werent for that system. these are not the only lives that suffered and had been loss because of the cruel mass muders happening to shelters, How about we Euthanize Humans because of its OVER overpopulation to our world and lets first start to the family of the euthanizers and the people that created this system :'(

  5. Are you kidding me??? Her bond was a
    $1,000??? This is so wrong. All the death and suffering and she can walk for a thousand bucks!


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