Justice for Miriam - Help The Cats at Longstreet fight animal abuse/neglect in Loudoun, VA

Justice for Miriam - Help The Cats at Longstreet fight animal abuse/neglect in Loudoun, VA

August 16, 2023
Signatures: 20,061Next Goal: 25,000
73 people signed this week

Why this petition matters

Started by Amanda Buckland

Animal neglect is abuse. Especially when it comes in the form of withholding medication. Medication that you KNOW your cat needs in order to survive. 

From the CEO and founder of The Cats at Longstreet, Dr Kathleen Werden:

"We went to court today.
One of our most precious souls died of neglect, pure and simple.
The animal control officer begged and pleaded her case, but the former owner got a lawyer and as such, The Virginia Commonwealth didn't feel like it was worth pursuing after the former owner pleaded No Contest.
That former owner got away with murder.
No fines (other than court fees), no permanent record, no nothing.
My baby girl counts for nothing. And they get to keep the other cat they adopted from us at the same time.
We are considering a civil case. At the very least, maybe we can recompense the 2 weeks of intensive care and cost we willingly gave to try and save her. It won't bring her back. It won't bring back the months of suffering. But it's all we can do."

Not only is it an injustice to the memory of Miriam that her former owner got off with nothing more than some court costs, but also to any other animal who suffers a similar fate. It is time for the justice system to recognize that animal neglect is abuse, and treat it the same way.

From one of our dedicated volunteers, who spent countless hours trying to save Miriam:

"You adopted her from us 2 years ago. You knew that she was on thyroid medication. You knew she was a senior that needed more than a “normal” cat. We discussed her daily medication, that she needed blood work and that it would be detrimental to her health if she did not receive care under the direction of the doctor. Things were fine for a year. Fine-ish. You were ignorant and needed to be educated to appropriately care for a senior cat on medications and that is understandable.
It got worse but you seemed to really love her and you just needed more hand holding. We sent reminders, checked in and scheduled appointments. In March you brought her in for a “wellness exam”. She wasn't doing well. She was down in weight and we said we needed to make some medication adjustments and see her back in 2 weeks, no matter what. We moved the schedule around and squeezed you in because she was important and we were going to make it work to get her appropriate care. You canceled that appointment the day before she was supposed to come in.
A month and half later you emailed asking for a refill of her thyroid medication and we explained to you that she needed to come in to recheck her lab work. You never brought her in or answered the email.
A month after that you said that she had been off her thyroid medication for about a week and she wasn’t doing well. You said you were having financial issues and unable to bring her in at the time but if we could just refill 1 month of medication you would bring her in after that to recheck her lab work. We refilled the medication because she needed it and explained that she would need to come in before we filled anymore after that.
One week later you came to pick up her thyroid medication. Two hours after you picked up the thyroid medication you called and said that she wasn’t eating, moving or responding. We said that you needed to bring her in immediately.
You had your brother bring her in at the time of us closing the clinic. It was said that she had been off of thyroid medication for one month. One month without her thyroid medication that was keeping her alive. She was down more than 2lbs, completely emaciated, lateral, cold and unresponsive. “She was fine yesterday.”We immediately began life saving efforts and called you repeatedly to talk to you about her condition. You eventually answered and had been in the car the whole time we were fighting to save her.
At our demand that you relinquish her back to the rescue to save her you didn’t bat an eye. Just signed the relinquishment form. You didn’t bat an eye the entire time we explained that she was actively dying and just sat with her. At the very end of sitting with her for around an hour, you then cried and said to your brother that you guys would likely not see her again.
We took her home. Kathi and I. Had her stay in our bathtub and she received around the clock care. She came back and forth to work with her 2 IV pumps and 1 liquid nutrition pump that was administering food through a nasogastric tube. 24 hours a day she received care.
She slowly got stronger and gained a little weight over 2 weeks. Her eyes were sunken and she was so sick that she developed an upper respiratory infection and conjunctivitis. She had eye medication put into her eyes that then caused corneal melting ulcers and she needed even more care and a specialist visit. She would have likely developed the ulcers even if she wasn’t as sick as she was but if she wasn’t in the shape that she was to begin with, she wouldn’t have needed the upper respiratory medication.
2 weeks and 3 days after she was relinquished back into our care she was eventually to the point where there may have been a light at the end of the tunnel. She still had eye issues but her ophthalmologist said they would likely be healed in a week's time. She was using the litter box 85-90% of the time because she was finally strong enough to hold her weight and coordinated enough to get in the box. She was walking more and eating more regularly. We had her scheduled for physical therapy to work on getting her muscle mass increased because she was finally at the point where she could do it.
That day we lost her. We were at work late and providing life saving care for 4 neonate kittens. She threw up twice and then stopped breathing. Doing CPR did nothing. She had likely thrown a clot.
Her name was Miriam. Her name was Miriam and if you would have provided adequate care, there is a likelihood that she would still be with us today. You were ignorant but no one is that ignorant to not know that she was dying long before she came into us the day she was relinquished. You didn’t have money to pay for her thyroid medication that was 60 dollars or her blood work that she needed to make sure she was being supplemented properly but you apparently had enough money to pay for an attorney for the trial today.
The Commonwealth of Virginia decided that it wasn’t worth it to pursue Miriam’s case and you made a plea deal. No more animals being adopted for the next year and you get to keep the other cat you adopted from us. The court system has failed us and more importantly has failed Miriam.
Nothing that could have happened today could bring Miriam back or make things better. Nothing could make it better for Miriam but knowing that you showed no remorse for the loss of our Miriam and knowing that you get to keep our other cat is what really gets me.
No cat should ever have to go through anything nearly as bad as what Miriam went through and you deserve nothing good in the world. We will not be dropping this. She was ours before she was yours and she is still ours now."

If this has struck fury into your hearts the same way as it has ours, please sign and share our petition in order to bring more awareness to the lack of legal recourse for neglecting animals. Hopefully we can make an impact and guide the justice system to better defend animals. 

We are The Cats at Longstreet, a Northern Virginia 501c3 cat rescue. We take on the cases that no one else is willing to - the cases where we are their last hope. Please visit out website for more information on who we are, and what we do - thecatsatlongstreet.org

**at this time Change.org will not allow any photo or video uploads. Please visit our Facebook page or check out this reel to see the change in Miriam from intake to re-intake**




73 people signed this week
Signatures: 20,061Next Goal: 25,000
73 people signed this week