HomeCat NewsSalisbury, NC cat advocate charged with 9 counts of animal cruelty


Salisbury, NC cat advocate charged with 9 counts of animal cruelty — 11 Comments

  1. Until rescuers begin to work together better, they can hardly be expected to police themselves. (Breeders don’t police puppy mills and they have every self interest to cut the competition.) We have no agreed standards especially in cat rescue, and we are dealing with overwhelming, heart-breaking government-sponsored caging and killing of cats. A major national organisation (PETA) practices rounding up and killing outdoor cats. Cat welfare needs to come from a systematic approach that includes shelter, welfare, spay/neuter, and ESPECIALLY trap/neuter/return to ensure that the free-roaming population comes under control. So long as cats are freely multiplying and available everywhere, we can’t control who does what to them.

    • I agree. My personal vet’s office even knows where a puppy mill is in my county and the police won’t do anything about it. They turn the other way until it’s too late. Shelters don’t help by either talking rescues into taking more than they can physically handle or handing over hundreds of cats to one rescue over a short period of time and rationalizing it by saying “oh, at least they got out alive.” Until Julianne Westberry came along, a lot of us didn’t realize there was a fate worse than shelter euthanasia.

  2. The idea of cat rescuers policing themselves is nice in theory, but I don’t see it ever really happening. People get too upset and indignant if questioned, no matter how tactfully, then they and their friends attack you on social media. I suggested the same thing after Julianne Westbury, so many people got mad at me. Our rescue group only works in small, trusted circles after that.

    • I understand and respect those feelings, but if rescuers don’t figure out a way to monitor themselves the state is going to do it for them. Too many well publicized cases like this are happening. Rescuers need to realize that they are under a microscope & setting up reasonable standards is much better than picking up the pieces of one’s life after a raid.

      • I agree. I was involved with several group chats after the Julianne Westbury horror, and people were vowing to police each other, but as soon as I started putting plans in place to actually get it started, people got mad. They were saying doing home checks on rescuers, was “intrusive” among other things. Cat rescue is very cliquish and dramatic.

        • I don’t even comment on threads much anymore because of all the drama. I swear, rescue work is worse than a soap opera. You have people who don’t believe the truth, people just out to cause trouble and those who are really trying to help get drawn into the backlash. I’m really surprised more small rescuers haven’t gone over the edge and lost their minds. If you can’t turn to other rescues for help, you can’t advertise in the newspaper or on Craigslist or on Facebook when you get overwhelmed it really backs a person into a corner. Barbara has taken her page down as well as her rescue page. It’s a shame because she did a lot of good things for the cats at Rowan. I don’t know if she can ever recover from this. Dead cats are something people don’t forget about.

    • You hit the nail on the head with that one. You won’t believe how many fights this article has started on social media.

  3. My guess is that she got cats from Rowan shelter, they had Panleukopenia and died suddenly, but not before infecting others. I know that nightmare all to well (after getting cats from Rowan!!) How she wouldn’t notice the smell is another issue…

    What really irks me is that rescue people get shamed, arrested, raided, etc. while the truly guilty ones just keep on. I am speaking of the shelters, counties, states that don’t do enough (or anything) to stop the pet over population, but waste lots of money killing animals. Most often the only ones adopting out shelter animals are the unpaid volunteers/rescues. And they are all running ragged. Oh, and lets not forget to fault the biggest criminals: The pet “owners” who don’t neuter the pets, but continually “surrender” animals to the shelters when they get tired of them, or bring in litter after litter.

    • This is the only critically thought through and insightful post that I have seen to date on this story. I totally agree with your comments about the “truly guilty ones.” I have my own story regarding character assassination, harassment and more because of my advocacy work for cats in a rural Kentucky county. Negative media, legal action, collusion, in a witch hunt driven by some misguided and vindictive locals. Believe me, media is not always to be believed!

      • Media isn’t but the police report and the photos made of the inside of the home are believable. If she wasn’t going to feed the cats then why not turn them loose and let them catch rats? I don’t believe half of what I read on Facebook. I just hope when Barbara goes to trial she has a good explanation for why 3 dead cats and a cat skull were found in the home and maggot-eaten dogs were seized in the back yard. I always thought she was a great rescuer, but we all thought that of Julianne Westberry too. My first thought was the shelter set her up to take the fall. If only that were true.

  4. Excellent coverage, as usual!

    All cat rescues and advocates need to police each other, work with one another, know who they are and where they live and make regular contact. You cannot just trust seeing them rescue from a shelter or post on Facebook.

    Horrible situation and it’s justice at work but not harsh enough sentence for the suffering these animals were put through.

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