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.
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.
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?