Julianne Westberry: Cats from the farm ready to begin a new life

This is the first time since the Julianne Westberry case began on June 18 that I’m able to bring the readers of PoC good news. LOTS of good news. I’m happy to report the cats taken from the farm belonging to Marshall Shaw are now in a safe place, and ready to begin their new lives. Here’s a brief update on what has happened over the past week.

Westerry cat abuse cats rehoming

By Elisa

On July 2, Anderson County Animal Control began trapping cats on the farm owned by Shaw. I believe the count trapped so far is 37, unless more were brought in on Monday. Since these cats were “owner surrendered,” they didn’t have the holding period granted to strays. Anderson County PAWS made an announcement the cats would have until 6 p.m. July 7 to be out of the shelter. This infuriated the cat community. Not only in South Carolina, but worldwide.

Gareth Jones began a petition asking Anderson County PAWS to give the cats more time. Ash Truesdale held a meeting July 3 with PAWS director Jessica Cwynar. I’m not sure of all of the details, but things snowballed (in a good way) from there.

Cat lovers refused to stand by and watch these cats die due to space at the county shelter. Any time there’s a puppy mill raid or a “dog” situation, the shelter has been great in finding space for dogs. The issue was brought to the attention of the shelter that to show less to these cats would be a total lack of respect for these survivors, and would endanger the shelter’s reputation for a long time.

Then a miracle occurred. One that could save all of the farm survivors, and give those fighting so hard for these precious cats the time to find the rescues or shelters originally pulled from. This would greatly increase the chance for a forever home. Diana Rigler and her organization, Foster Paws, along with the Kitten Action Team have secured a building on Butler Road in Mauldin for the next six weeks. A business owner offered it to house the cats, and animal advocates spent the weekend preparing it for the new arrivals on Monday.

The cats (I’ve heard around 35 so far but haven’t confirmed) are now settling in to their temporary home. Sadly, many are pregnant or have kittens. Greenville County Animal Care Services is good about spay/neuter before a cat leaves their facility, but apparently other shelters don’t have a hard rule on this. It’s possible some shelters believed Julianne would take care of ‘fixing’ some of the cats, since she represented herself as being more at Anderson County Humane Society than she actually was.

So now we have sick cats, emaciated cats, stressed out cats, pregnant cats and new mothers. It’s good they’re in excellent hands with the mostly ladies (I’m not sure whether any men are involved) who are volunteering at the Mauldin facility.

The first group of survivors arrived late Monday. Several kittens came in without mothers, but since several mother cats who had recently nursed and no longer had babies have stepped in to feed these orphans. One group of kittens may belong to a mother cat trapped last week. At least now all of the cats will get plenty of food and health care to help them pull through.

The generosity of the property owner, along with a community that has come forward to support these cats, means the frantic pace to find where these cats came from and who they should be returned to is lessened.

Any additional cats trapped by Anderson County Animal Control will be picked up at PAWS and brought to Mauldin. They will not be at risk of death due to time constraints or lack of space. All of this is going to take money. Listed below are ways you can help these poor kitties.

All survivors will be checked for a microchip, and the original shelter, rescue, foster hopefully can be located. Any cats not claimed or whom the original shelter wishes the cat to go straight to a rescue or forever home will be found a family who will love that cat forever. These cats have been through a lot, and the upstate community caring for them wants to make life as beautiful as they deserve from this point on.

Before any of the cats are adopted out, they’ll be spay/neutered, be up to date on their vaccinations and microchipped. Things that should have been done before being released to Julianne.

As for Julianne, no more information has been made available. She’s currently charged with one count of ill treatment of animals and animal torture. Marshall Shaw, who surrendered the dozens of sick, emaciated cats dumped on his property hasn’t been charged with any crime at this time, despite many of the cats losing much of their body weight in only a few months time. Julianne most likely won’t face charges on these cats, since they weren’t found on her property.


You can keep up with the Anderson kitties here on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/andersonsurvivors

Recent sources:

  • http://www.examiner.com/article/julianne-westberry-cats-from-the-farm-to-be-trapped-by-anderson-animal-control
  • http://www.examiner.com/article/give-the-cats-taken-from-julianne-westberry-more-time
  • http://www.examiner.com/article/upstate-sc-rescue-groups-race-against-time-to-save-anderson-feline-survivors

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

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20 Responses

  1. kylee says:

    Aww thats certainly alot of cats and kittens. Wish i could come out and pet them ill have to pet from afar. As im in New Zealand. Heres a photo I Made of the Cat i decided to call Bright Eyes my Favourite that i fell in love with. I resized it.

  2. Elisa says:

    More cats coming on Thursday. Have fun Ash! I’m jealous with you being there getting to pet all of the cats 🙂

  3. Ash says:

    Thank you Elisa for the article and thank you to EVERYONE who has helped us make this dream a reality!! Right now we have 24 adults and 11 kittens (3 days – 1.5 weeks old) in our facility. We have 7 more adults arriving Wednesday,with the possibility of that number going up depending on if animal control trapped any additional cats Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. So far everyone is doing well. We have 3 nursing moms and (we believe) 12 pregnant females, 3 of which are about ready to give birth any day… 1 we think will have had her kittens by Wednesday morning. We have several other females who are not pregnant. We have4 altered males and several unaltered males.

    We do have a few sick cats (including one or two expecting mommas) but mostly it is just minor upper respiratory issues… no major sickness to report. Lots of skinny little malnourished kitties and many of the expected issues from cats who have been thrown out on a far…scratches, missing hair (probably from fighting, not ringworm), fleas (now taken care of, of course!), minor wounds, etc. Pretty much everyone needs to gain a little weight.

    We have a couple of cats that could be semi feral or just really scared. Almost everyone is super friendly though! We only have one “true feral” cat so far, and she is a little DMH black girl…who is pregnant, of course!

    We are happy to have anyone come out and take a look, play with the cats, or help out if they can!

  4. Roslyn says:

    And there are a few men there helping as well.

  5. Amber Felden says:

    I can identify two of those kitties. One for sure. The grey and white female is Bella. I believe the grey male with the grey nose is Blue. This is some conflict in this but I am almost positive with the description given to me about him. They were both personal furbabies of mine until I became homeless approx 3 1/2 years ago. Julianne took them for me and assured me Bella had been adopted and lived in another state and was told nothing else about the rest. I have located one of the others that was mine and that is one of the calico’s in other pics also dumped on the “farm”. Her name is Mitzy. The other 3, I have not seen. I believe the ones that survived only did because they had been strays before I rescued them and they were taken very well care of until I became homeless. I have since gotten back on my feet and have been at the same job for 3 years and same home for the same amount of time. I would love to bring them home with me. I just need to know what to do.

    • Hi Amber, I’ll ask Elisa to contact you either via this comment thread or via email. Thanks for visiting and sharing.

    • Elisa says:

      I left Ash Truesdale a message so she can get back to her. I don’t know how long before she has time to answer. Her hands are full right now with the cats. Hopefully soon.

        • Elisa says:

          Sent you a new one. The one I promised. I’m headed to bed now. Exausting day. I’ll network the new one from my phone.

      • Ash says:

        Yes I answered Amber back (with Roslyn’s help!) and she is welcome to come out and see the cats and the building and see if these 2 belong to her any time! Anyone is welcome to come out! We are always going to need volunteers to clean, help us move donations around, organize things, and just simply give the cats some attention 🙂

  6. Elisa says:

    In case you guys are wondering at the flip-flopping I’m doing on the articles, some just belong on PoC. Michael always gets the best discussion articles. When I post on Examiner I link PoC articles into them.

    Also on the bottom left are all the Julianne articles I’ve done so far. http://www.furbyshouse.com/Journalism-Bibliography–2.html

  7. kylee says:

    So pleased those precious kitties are safe. Although really sad for those kitties Pregnant. I am so thankful the black kitty that I was so worried about. Is safe and with a foster mother. I really was so worried about her. Just with her eyes and the angry look on her face it said it all. I will donate to one of the above causes. Just so thankful to all involved,I really hope this women gets charged with the Full highest Law possible. As all the extra work she has caused and the bad name its given a lot of rescues. xx

    • Elisa says:

      Oh Kylee, your fav kitty IS the foster mama to a litter. It’s believed it may even be her own litter since one looks just like her. With all the pregnant moms and kittens it’s possible her kittens found a surrogate mom until they were reunited.

      We sure have some awesome women in this area who are behind this project. I don’t know where the men are. LOL. Of you notice women seem to rule the shelter urgent pages as well.

      I was just so tired reporting all the bad news. I’m still very upset about Doris. She’s lost half her weight it looks like since mid May. Look at her shelter photo then the one Suzy made when she got her home Monday.

      That poor kitty had a 300 mile ride. She has to be tired. And to think the man who surrendered the cats hasn’t been charged with cruelty.

      • kylee says:

        Yea thank you so much I just felt a special connection to her. My heart is just so thankful she made it. It sucks majorly that he wont be charged with cruelty he SHOULD BE JOINTLY Charged. The same way if any other person is charged like an Accessory. That what would happen over here. Thats sad she got kitties. Poor Girl. Yea I wish i could of been there all along. I know i cant do a lot,and I’m not over there, but its meant a lot knowing there are wonderful Women. Shame no men could help. Thanks for keeping us all in the Loop its good to know they are safe and out of her Claws. I feel so saddened that this has even happened.

        • Elisa says:

          Our first cat Lola had a surrogate mom. Lola just wandered up when she was about a month oold and a mama cat with kittens took her in. No one knew where she came from. The mama cat lived in the country about 20 miles from us and a girl at a store told us she had some kittens.

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