Early Morning Open Thread: Cat Rescue Bleg

Eighteen months ago, I linked to the NYTimes slide show and related story on Siglinda Scarpia and Goathouse Refuge:

Ms. Scarpa, 72, lives in a wooden house painted robin’s egg blue, in the middle of an open woodland, with old oaks and pines rising over sandy soil. With its second-story porches covered with the canes of Lady Banks’ roses, Carolina jasmine and wisteria, the house could be something out of a children’s book.

Some people come here to adopt a cat from the Goathouse Refuge, the animal sanctuary she runs, tucked back in the woods. Others come to buy her pottery or ceramic art, which is displayed in the sunny showroom on the first floor of this whimsical house: abstract pieces that evoke storms brewing in the sky; clay roasting pots shaped like squashes, with frogs or artichokes on their lids; or teacups molded like the face of a cat, the lines of cheek and jaw, nose and mouth drawn by a knowing hand…

Yesterday, commentor Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism linked to an urgent letter on the Goathouse Refuge Facebook page:

As many of you know, a shooting range opened last May directly adjacent to the refuge, with the outdoor shooting galleries only 80 feet from our property line. This situation has put us in even greater need of your support. Please consider a donation at this link: http://www.goathouserefuge.org/donate/

Because of a petition we started against the shooting range, my calls to the sheriff’s office, and my and my neighbors’ complaints, the shooting range people started blasting us on a very right-wing radio station, saying that we were against the second amendment, that we cared more about cats than our country. Some people started breaking in at night to the refuge to try to intimidate me. Then people started posting on Craigslist that they were driving more than one hour to come here and use our cats for target practice…

Because of the constant shooting, we were not able to hold our most important fundraiser this spring which brings in about $30,000 every year. In addition, we were not able to hold the other smaller spring fundraisers. Even our adoption rate decreased dramatically because people became afraid to come here.

We are now in a desperate situation and need financial support ASAP. The refuge needs $10,000 by this Friday to meet payroll. We have large bills that are due for veterinary services, food, and care for the cats. We need support immediately or we will be forced to close the refuge. I am already trying to transfer some cats to good organizations and to people we can trust, breaking my heart and the hearts of all the people who are working here and who put so much love and energy into caring for these creatures. We can supply bills to you if you would like to pay them directly…

Even if you can’t donate, you can help spread the word — especially if you’re in the Pittsboro area.

41 replies
  1. 1
    MomSense says:

    This is devastating. I am so angry about what the ammosexuals have done to the good people at the refuge. I will donate. Thank you for posting this.

  2. 2
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Considering the previous lavish spread, I wonder why the NYT hasn’t reported on this situation? Silly me…

    I’ll send a few bucks their way.

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    How sad. It’s going to take more than money for common sense to prevail. Hopefully a few dollars will help though.

  4. 4
    satby says:

    Sharing and donating. But sweet jayzus, when will the gun crazy end?

  5. 5
    Sherparick says:

    What utter assholes.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Cervantes says:

    @Sherparick: Thanks.

  8. 8
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    I sent a few dollars. I hope they survive this episode and find a way to calm the situation down. :-(



  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Sherparick: In that story, the gun range guy comes across as reasonable, and the sanctuary lady sounds a little nuts.

  10. 10
    Baron Elmo says:

    Wow, what a surprise — rabid gun nuts hate animals as much as they hate humanity.

    I can comprehend the allure of guns (though I dislike them myself), but the sheer single-mindedness of ammosexuals verges on outright worship.

    I would suggest printing up bumper stickers that read “JESUS HATES YOUR GUNS,” but displaying one would probably get your ride shot up by some heat-packing dipshit.

  11. 11
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Sherparick: The range owner comes off so reasonable, doesn’t he? Upstanding patriot vs crazy foreigner cat lady.

    Siglinda says that at one point, they were shooting something that made the ground shake.

  12. 12
    Kay says:

    In Ohio, you can opt out of allowing people who are armed from entering if you post the exception to the law on the door. So we’ve had that up there for years, but it was a small sign with dense print and no one reads anything.
    We had a person come in wearing his weapon (under his shirt- I wasn’t searching him, I just happened to see it when he was gesticulating wildly and somewhat erratically) so I found a new sign on the internet and it’s bigger and it has an image of a gun with the universal “no” slash thru it. It’s impossible to miss.
    They’re all laughing at it and they say the next sign will be huge and hand-lettered on poster board with NO GUNS IN HERE.

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:



    Those are the wrong words Kay. It should have the gun in a circle with a slash thru it and say, “NO PUSSIES IN HERE”

  14. 14
    WereBear says:

    Sent out on social media, put on a political Facebook page.

  15. 15
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    Thanks for front paging this, Anne Laurie. The further this goes, the more people who can pitch in even a little bit, the better the chance that they’ll survive this.

  16. 16
    Kay says:


    I don’t want to get them all riled up :) I’m ALL about negotiation.

    One of the women who works up front is married to a police officer and the other is the daughter of a retired police officer. This would be the worst place in the world to start something.

  17. 17
    rikyrah says:

    McAuliffe restores voting rights of 2,500 felons

    Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today that his administration has restored the voting rights of more than 2,500 non-violent felons who have served their time.“Virginians who have served their time deserve a second chance to become productive members of society again,” said McAuliffe said in a statement.

    “I am proud of the reforms my administration has undertaken to expand and expedite the rights restoration process and the work my team has done restoring Virginians’ voting rights so former offenders can lead successful, productive lives here in the commonwealth,” he said…


  18. 18
    Lotti says:

    @Betty Cracker: The news story is biased in the extreme – not to say that feelings are not high on Siglinda’s side of the fence but she has called on her supporters to be calm and has tried to pursue legal remedies. Having dealt with a similar situation involving unholy noise levels here in somewhat benighted N.C. I am aware that it takes time to get a remedy but persistence is the key and noise ordinance is the avenue and she can get some relief once people realize that she is not going to roll over and play dead. In our situation the first response was that we should leave our home in times of high noise and go elsewhere if we were bothered. In the end the restrictions that we were able to get against the perpetrators lead to the demise of their enterprise – so along with sending money, I have advised her to carry on through legal channels.

  19. 19
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kay: Why is it all my best lines are liable to make things worse? I just don’t understand, everybody says I’m such a nice guy…

  20. 20
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    Another thing that article left out is that Siglinda isn’t the only neighbor who complained about the noise.

    Note that the range owner doesn’t live on the property and could easily have no idea of what his instructors are allowing. (If you want to give him the benefit of assuming he actually is reasonable and not just playing for a sympathetic reporter.)

  21. 21
    kc says:

    Oh my God. Sickening.

  22. 22
    Joy in FL says:

    This is so terrible in so many ways.

    I donated and posted info on my Tumblr– not that I have a huge following, but some may reblog and/or donate.

    What is wrong with people?????

  23. 23
    kc says:


    Impressively shitty reporting.

  24. 24
    WaterGirl says:

    @Kay: Do I recall correctly that the police are right across the street from you?

  25. 25
    Bendal says:

    We’ve visited the Goathouse several times; it’s a very peaceful, quiet area where the cats can relax and just be cats undisturbed by worries about predators, cruel people or where they’ll have to sleep tonight or what they will eat next. Siglinda did mention that the gun range owner has agreed to build noise berms and plant more vegetation between the range and her property, but that may not be enough. NC’s rural noise restrictions aren’t very restrictive. Even if they meet all the noise requirements after the berms are placed, the cat refuge won’t be the same; noise is still noise and while the cats would probably adjust, I don’t know if Siglinda will. She’s a WWII survivor from northern Italy and probably saw more than her share of horrors from back then. She wants the range shut down and I doubt that’s going to happen. Thanks for posting her information and the Refuge’s need for funds.

  26. 26
    Nicole says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: That’s what grates on me about this- him claiming the noise isn’t a big deal, but of course, he doesn’t live anywhere where he can hear it. Noise pollution is very bad for one’s health. I live in an apartment building that rented its retail space to a new restaurant. Three months of construction turned into thirteen months of constant construction noise from 9AM to 6PM. I work from home and had to start working from midnight to 6AM, which, needless to say, wasn’t good for my health. I gained over 10 pounds from all the sugar I was eating in an attempt to stay awake all night. I feel for the rescue.

  27. 27
    Kay says:


    The sheriff’s dept. They put all the county offices in a dying strip mall.

    It was a grocery store. I miss the grocery store, honestly.

  28. 28
    WaterGirl says:

    @Kay: Ah, the wisdom of administrative decisions…

  29. 29
    Glidwrith says:

    Thanks for mentioning it again. Done.

  30. 30
    WaterGirl says:

    Just donated in honor of a friend whose pet died suddenly in the night last night.

  31. 31
    Manyakitty says:

    Posted on Facebook and sent a donation. WTF. Just WTF.

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    Today is payday, so I sent them a donation. I, too, suspect that even if the gun range owner is well-meaning, if he’s not on the property every time there’s a shooting party going on, how does he know that the noise isn’t that bad?

  33. 33
    bago says:

    Ana Marie Cox has been on a tear about rescues. See if you can find mine.

  34. 34
    CindyH says:

    We got our sweet, wonderful cat Paty from Goathouse Refuge. It’s a wonderful place and we of course are supporting it as best we can.

    Thanks for bringing this out – I posted on Facebook, but that doesn’t go very far since I hardly ever use Facebook and only have a few “friends”.

  35. 35
    someofparts says:

    At least the shooting range owner is consistent in his values. He considers the range important to our future soldiers so they will be well prepared to kill innocent people around the world to keep our bankers hog-rich. Preparing people to disrespect life overseas begins by disrespecting life at home.

    Also, who was the armed veterinarian who shrugged it off when asked if the gun range bothered the cats? I don’t hold with posting an adversary’s personal information online, but if I lived in that town, I’d want to know the name of that vet so I could be sure that I never took my own dog to her.

  36. 36
    Nicole says:


    Also, who was the armed veterinarian who shrugged it off when asked if the gun range bothered the cats? I don’t hold with posting an adversary’s personal information online, but if I lived in that town, I’d want to know the name of that vet so I could be sure that I never took my own dog to her.

    From the article: “Atkeson… said he asked a gun range member who is a veterinarian what harm could come to the animals. He said she rolled her eyes and said, “They’re fine.”

    I believe the name of the veterinarian is, “Gunrangeowner Madeherup.”

  37. 37
    kc says:


    Also, who was the armed veterinarian who shrugged it off when asked if the gun range bothered the cats? I don’t hold with posting an adversary’s personal information online, but if I lived in that town, I’d want to know the name of that vet so I could be sure that I never took my own dog to her.

    Not just that, but why would the reporter just print what the range owner claims the vet said that w/o at least asking a veterinarian herself? Reporting, how does it work?

  38. 38
    Nicole says:

    @kc: Regarding why the reported didn’t follow up with the “vet”- there appears to be some local media bias against the owner of the rescue. I found an article from another paper that painted a pretty unflattering portrait of the place, implying Sigllnda was a hoarder. A lot of commenters chimed in to defend Goathouse, so I’m inclined to be skeptical of the article.

    She’s probably an odd duck (show me an animal rescue person who isn’t), and yes, some of the supporters say the place has issues (again, show me a rescue place that doesn’t) but they also say she does a better job than the city shelters in the area, or other local rescues. Ah the media. Always ready to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    This is the article, but it comes across very one-sided:

  39. 39
    Betty Cracker says:

    @kc: Right? That was a crappy article from start to finish.

    From my own observations, I think animals react to noise as individuals. My mom lived out in the country and had one dog that went to pieces every time he heard a gunshot in the distance. Her other two dogs were fine with it. One of my dogs flips out during 4th of July fireworks, and the other doesn’t give a crap. When we had a cat, he didn’t care either. But if the rescue lady has 200+ cats, I’m sure a least some of them are bothered by it.

    Cats aside, why would an open-air gun range be allowed to create noise pollution for human beings? It just doesn’t make sense. If the guy wants to run a gun range in an area populated by other people, he should be required to build a structure with sufficient noise-abatement and safety measures. Period.

  40. 40
    Nate says:

    I have no tolerance for people who let their small army of semi-feral cats run wild in the woods, eating native wildlife with reckless abandon. I don’t care for the gun nuts on the other side of the fence either.

    There is no side to be on here.

  41. 41
    Bendal says:

    @Nate: Nate, I can only describe your post as a troll. The Goathouse’s cats aren’t ‘semi-feral”, nor do they “run wild in the woods”. I’ve been there several times, and the cats are well fed and kept within a fenced, wooded area. The only creatures I’ve seen them hunt are the occasional toad or butterfly or dragonfly that ventures into the compound; otherwise they get to lay around and be cats. For the most part the cats come up to you for attention and rubbings; there are some shy ones that stay away from strangers, but ‘semi-feral’ is hardly what I’d call any of the cats there.

    Take your trolling somewhere else; it’s clear you know nothing at all about the refuge.

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