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In the fallout from SC woman charged with animal torture, shelter pets may die

Mojito has no shares and no pledges
Mojito has no shares and no pledges
Facebook: Greenville County Pet Rescue

Right now rescues across the southeast are struggling in the shadow of Julianne Westberry. Those who supported Westberry financially have been burned by her deceit, and are reluctant to pledge to legitimate rescues.

A pledge occurs when a cat lover goes on a Facebook shelter page and looks at the photos. When they find a pet they want to support, that person places a dollar amount on the Facebook thread saying they'll contribute that amount to the rescue who saves the pet from being killed at the shelter.

Pledges are part of the system of saving lives. So are rescues, fosters, crossposters and adopters. If any part of this system crumbles, cats and dogs die.

This is an honor system, and pledges are expected to be paid once a rescue has confirmed and saved the animals. Thanks to Westberry, who took pledges from people all over the U.S., and even the United Kingdom, that system has suffered a major hit.

All you have to do is look at any of the Facebook shelter pages to see this. Pets at risk of being killed at Greenville County Animal Care Services are listed under the Greenville County Pet Rescue page.

Currently 200 dogs and approximately 150 cats now wait on death row, out of time and no one to save them. If the pledges were there, rescues could pull these precious souls.

Why do rescues need pledges? Because most of the cats and dogs need vet care after leaving the shelter. Heartworm treatment for a heartworm positive dog can run anywhere between $400-$800. Even minor illnesses can quickly rack up a vet bill.

Almost all of the cats from Westberry's situation came with a pledge. Funds from $60 to more than $300 were given to her in good faith to care for the cats. Some came with no pledge, but that was an exception rather than the norm.

Since Westberry was accused of fraudulently using the 501c3 status from the Anderson County Humane Society this is being investigated by SLED now), pledgers are wary of even the best and most respected rescues.

It's always a good idea to check out a rescue before donating. And there are ways around allowing the deceit to risk the life of a dog or cat on an urgent list. If you're afraid to pledge to a rescue, ask instead to pledge to the vet that rescue uses.

Another suggestion is to call the vet and get a reference of the rescue. A lot of rescues, unfortunately, are getting treatment for one animal or another on a daily basis. This dedication should go a long way in saying a rescue is legit.

Please don't continue to make the dogs and cats at high-kill shelters suffer because of the black cloud Westberry has thrown over even the good rescues.

To not pledge to save shelter cats and dog means Westberry wins. That she continues to kill shelter cats without even laying a hand on them.

Mojito is out of time at Greenville County Pet Rescue. No shares and no pledges means she will likely die without knowing the love of a forever family. Despite being featured on Fox Carolina News, she has been overlooked. Her story is here.

I work with several rescues doing donation article. Foster Paws, Suzy's Zoo, Day Before the Rainbow, Hooves & Paws of the Upstate Rescue, Abby's Animal Angels, Saving Southern Kitties, Boxer Butts & Other Mutts, Jazzy Pit Bulls Kennel & Rescue and Carmen's Rescue just to name a few.

For those of you not familiar with Julianne Westberry, please read articles in order under "sources."

An excellent article to help you evaluate a rescue can be found here.

If your shelter has been affected by Westberry, or if you're a pledger who now has second thoughts about donating to save shelter pets, please take the time to leave a comment below.

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