Toby: A stray cat who walked 12 miles to get home and the fiasco that followed

This is the story of a stray FIV+ cat named Toby who was taken to Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Thankfully, Toby is now in his forever home after being saved by the SPCA of Wake County, a no-kill limited intake shelter in Raleigh. There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this article. I urge you to take the time to read about Toby, who walked 12 miles to get to where he considered home and the fiasco that followed.

Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment written by visitors. It is a way visitors can contribute to animal welfare without much effort and no financial cost. Please comment. It helps this website too which at heart is about cat welfare.

Betrayed (twice), turned into kill shelter with request for euthanasia

On April 4 the SPCA of Wake County posted Toby’s story on their Facebook page

“When Toby’s family no longer wanted him, they gave him to another family. But Toby missed them, and walked 12 miles back to his home. When he arrived, he was met with heartbreak. The family he thought had loved him took him to a shelter and asked staff to euthanize him. The shelter called us at the SPCA to ask if we could take him in and help him find a new family. Of course we said YES! If he is willing to walk 12 miles to save his life, will you walk ONE to save thousands of animals like Toby? Sign-up today for the 2018 Dog Walk and Woofstock – SPCA of Wake County. Toby is safe at the SPCA of Wake County where he is currently up for adoption.”

courtesy SPCA of Wake County

Confusion and fundraising for the wrong reason

The post on Toby was shared thousands of times, then shared again to the point of going viral after someone COPIED the post and at least one (possibly more) fundraiser was started for the rescue who would step up to save Toby.

The problem was Toby didn’t need saving. He was safe with the good folks at SPCA of Wake County because the shelter is no-kill. No animal is killed for space and Toby, despite being FIV+ was never in danger there. The SPCA made the commitment to find Toby a forever home.

Clarification and pledges that should have gone to the SPCA and most likely didn’t

Kellie Wester, who works closely with the SPCA of Wake County, cautioned people after the fake post was shared stating

“PLEASE STOP SHARING THE POST IN THE SCREENSHOT. The original poster has been contacted, but is not updating the post. Toby was originally surrendered to the Wake County Animal Center and is now located at the SPCA of Wake County, a no-kill cage-free facility in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is in no danger of being killed.

I have seen this post shared numerous times (at least 300) with inaccurate information with a lot of people trying to scramble to get him because they think that he is going to be killed, he’s not. He is perfectly safe at the SPCA.

I have also seen people collecting pledge money for him upwards of $1000.00 on different threads. Pledges are not needed, SPCA has already pulled him and he is fully vetted. However, I’m sure that the SPCA of Wake County would appreciate your donation to assist them in saving more lives.

Cross-posting definitely does work and does save lives, but the information needs to be accurate.”

Pledges started coming in once the poster who copied Toby’s information posted the information in the screenshot below (I won’t name her because I don’t want a lynch mob after myself or this poster).

the misleading post

Donations should go to SPCA of Wake County

The moral of this story is to be very careful who you honor pledges to. This beautiful boy was adopted and hopefully anyone who pledged to an individual will direct their money to go to the SPCA of Wake County. They were his true rescuers and cared for him until a forever home could be found. A donation link can be found on their Facebook page.

Lessons learned

More times than not, it’s a bad idea to copy a post and add information without verification. The person who copied Toby’s information listed Toby as being in a kill shelter, which Wake County Animal Center is. From the time of his rescue by SPCA of Wake County, Toby was safe. People blindly pledged without knowing the full and true story. Be careful who you donate to, people.

1 thought on “Toby: A stray cat who walked 12 miles to get home and the fiasco that followed”

  1. Very good point Elisa. It is heartbreaking to read sad stories like Toby’s. But the point remains…anyone can copy a story, or create one, and use this to garner donations. Whether intentions are honest or not, it is essential to get as much information as possible to make an informed decision. I had just such a learning experience three or four years ago, regarding a cat in Italy who “had” a brain tumor. I was never able to find out for sure the real facts.


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