This is a very sad story because it could easily happen to any of us with a family. It’s doubly heartbreaking because in the process of putting their lives back together a young boy with Asperger syndrome may never again see the cat he depended on to keep him calm. In addition to telling this story, the family is also sending out a plea for the return of their cat, who was adopted out of Greenville County Animal Care in Greenville, South Carolina because the family friend trying to return the cat to the family was short $1.06 on the adoption fee.
The short version of the full story began when Jessica Hammons Boutwell and her husband lost everything after he was seriously injured at work. He had surgery, but without his income, a WC check and Jessica’s paycheck weren’t enough to keep up the family of six. Then his doctor told Jessica’s husband that he basically can no longer be a mechanic. Unfortunately, his employer would not let him move from garage to up front in sales(even though he has years of managerial experience).
The family soon became way behind on everything. They ended up moving into a hotel room, which was a tight fit, but being in Greenville their eldest two children were able to find jobs. When they tried to get an apartment, the family was denied due to destroyed credit because of lost wages. They were able to go into the GAIHN program, which provides food and lodging for the homeless. The only problem is animals aren’t allowed in this type of housing.
Enter Greenville County Animal Care (GCAC) who was willing to keep their three cats Oogie Boogie, Jack Skellington and Squeakers, and fully vet them. It was a blessing to the family, but when time ran out so did the kindness. Jessica’s husband was forced to surrender them on January 13.
When friends found out, they put a plan into action to adopt out the cats and hold them in foster until Jessica and her family could get back on their feet financially. One friend named Destiny went to adopt Squeekers and Oogie Boogie on January 17. Another friend, Liz, planned to get Jack that evening. Everything went fine until Destiny got there and was $1 short of having enough to get both cats.
Destiny ended up being $1.06 short. The shelter was determined to get that $1. Destiny told the shelter they were going to run get some more money and would be back for Oogie. Well, the time it took her to drop by Jessica’s house to get the money and get back, they had adopted him to someone else. They would not answer the question as to why they did that when they knew she was coming back for him.
Now Jessica’s son, Sebastian, is heartbroken. And my son is taking it very badly. He has Aspergers and Oogie keeps him calm when he stresses out. He would be able to visit Oogie at Destiny’s house until the family is able to get a place of their own and could get all their furbabies back together.
The family just wants their cat back. Nothing more. They want Oogie back with Sebastian before his health issues get worse from missing him. Jessica has recently been hospitalized from all of the stress. She’s still there and sent me the information for this article from her hospital bed.
Yes, the shelter did have the right to adopt Oogie to another family. After all, they really need that $1.06 and the cats had all been signed over to the shelter. But this seems plain mean, knowing Destiny was coming back with the money.
Somewhere out there in the Greenville area is a family with a new cat. That family doesn’t realize a boy cries himself to sleep every night and a mother and father are worried sick about their son. A friend has offered to pay the new owner twice what they gave for Oogie, IF they can find him. The shelter, of course, isn’t required to give out any information.
If you have Oogie Boogie, please consider returning him to his boy. You can contact Jessica via Facebook.