I just have to reply to the previous post from the overentitled child who put up the pictures of our Socks with wounds all over him.
She and her boyfriend took the cat home on a Saturday night. We took an exit photo of the cat. As you can see there are no wounds on Socks' face or on his ears. Sunday, a day we are closed, they sent us a Facebook message saying that the cat was huddling to himself, shivering, etc. Their main complaints were that the cat hadn't pooped yet and seemed to be limping. They also said it appeared that a toenail might have been cut too short. Then they added that the cat hadn't eaten, and was not walking around. We responded the next day saying to bring the cat over so we could look at him.
They responded that they had taken the cat to the emergency clinic and that Socks had a fever, bite marks, and an infection and that he needed a follow-up vet visit. They also griped about the cost. I invited them to make a follow up appointment at our vet and we would cover the fees. They replied that they had taken the cat for a follow up visit already, that the cat had multiple infected wounds, and that their vet had found ear mites. I asked if they had used our vet and was told that they had used a much pricier vet because they "didn't trust us".
This was after exactly two communications with us, one of which asked them to bring the cat in so we could look at it and the other offering them a vet visit at our expense.
Then they sent the pictures of all the wounds that she has already posted in her review. I was horrified, the cat had not left our shelter in that condition. The logical thing to assume, from the wounds and the cat's behavior, is that their cat beat him up. They told us that was not possible, that they had watched both cats 7/24. (Seriously, you slept in shifts or didn't sleep so you could stare at the cats all night when they were instant BFF's?)
That left only one possible souce of the wounds - they had done it themselves. For money, since they were demanding I pay their vet bills and refund their adoption fee while they would keep the cat. Once I saw the wounds I offered to pay whatever they wanted, just to get Socks away from them.
Now they are finding every website they can to put up nasty reviews - because we wouldn't pay them. They signed an adoption contract that clearly states that once they take their cat home medical treatments are their responsibility, but in spite of that we did offer to treat the cat for nothing, because we care about our cats and our adopters.
People like this are why most animal rescuers want to gouge their own eyes out. Too many people want to extort money (from a charity of all things) and when it doesn't go their way they try to do as much harm as they can via online reviews.
Added to this post is the picture of the cat when he left our shelter. I cropped their image out of the photo and have not made their names public, because I'm a Hell of a lot nicer than they deserve. No wounds to be seen. Compare that to the pictures of the cat after being in their "care" for a couple of days, as can be seen in the second picture.
Review from Guidestar
The shelter is kept clean. The cats are well fed. We work closely with our veterinarian keeping the cats vaccinated and healthy. This is the only no-kill cat shelter in Youngstown, and we take a great deal of pride in our work. Our income tax returns account for a every penny that the shelter receives and are available on this site and through the office of the Ohio Attorney General, where we are on file as a registered charity.
The person using multiple accounts to post bad reviews on our page is not an evil person. She is simply an individual who is in a bad place mentally and emotionally and has chosen the shelter in general and me in particular as a target for her fixations. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers that she might find her way through her ongoing turmoil to a place of peace and happiness.
Review from Guidestar
Adopted a kitty this past Saturday. Chose him Friday and paid. Went to pick him up Saturday he had abrasions by his mouth that weren't there before, his one toenail was clipped too far. We took him home, he explored a little and then went to sleep and stayed like that onto Sunday evening. He was lethargic, wouldn't move, when he did, he limped. His toe that was clipped too far oozed and appeared infected. He would not eat, drink or go to the bathroom. We contacted the shelter but they took too long to respond, as they do not have a phone currently operating. We took him to the ER. He had a fever, given fluids and was treated for an infection, and an anti inflammatory/pain pill for home. We brought him home and every two hours I carried him to the bathroom and food. He would not walk otherwise. We wrapped his foot and the meds in his system, he started to perk up and began acting as a kitty should. However, we noticed his ears were very dirty, huge scabs inside. He was itching and grooming, which then opened up his mouth wounds, his ear scabs and scabs that we hadn't noticed on his hind legs. He was bleeding from all. We took him to the vet who stated he still had a fever and further treated him for multiple infections and confirmed the ear mites. He was given a treatment and the vets soaked his severely infected toe. They placed him in a cone to prevent him from opening his multiple wounds. He is now on three medicines and a toe soak. We also had to treat our resident cat for mites. We contacted the shelter and informed them of these things, and because we spent $400 on vet care we were asking for our adoption fee back. However they told us we overreacted, then blamed our resident cat and are now blaming us, calling us animal abusers for our new kitty's injuries. This was incredibly shocking and appalling seeing as though we just spent hundreds to nurse this baby back to health. The head lady literally called us "monsters" and said that we were extorting her small charity. She was rude and unprofessional. I'm nervous to see what else is wrong with my new baby after seeing many, many, many other negative reviews. WSC doesn't have enough money or workers to be taking care and keeping eye on the amount of cats that they have.
I have reported them to every animal organization that I could find. And as a media professional, will be contacting local news sources. Hopefully the babies in their care will be taken away and placed where they can be properly treated.
2 of my cats are from West Side Cats. This rescue/shelter is amazing. Beautifully designed for the utmost enjoyment of the cats. Very, very clean. Cats a well fed, vetted and loved. The volunteers are incredible. I Can't speak highly enough about the shelter!
Review from Guidestar
This "rescue" allows animals to suffer horribly and does nothing to help them. They took in a cat on Friday, Feb. 26 who had a steel leg trap on its leg. They did NOTHING for this cat but post the horrible pictures to get money. The animal was thrown into a cage and had to wait until Monday to see a veterinarian. There are many vets in this area open on Saturday, in addition to an emergency clinic. This animal had to be in severe pain and have a serious infection. This place is the worst thing to happen to an animal. Their treatment of the animals in indefensible. The "owner" claims she knows as much as any veterinarian and has bragged of performing the spays and neuters herself.
This disgusting place should have been shut down when it was raided a few years ago. Instead, they changed the name, acted as if the people are all new. They are the same group of low life drug addicts that started this group. They are an embarrassment to this area.
Volunteering at West Side Cats is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. This no-kill, volunteer operated rescue and adoption shelter adopts out around 600 cats every year.
This is an update to my original posting. I still volunteer there. I want everyone to know that those people who post poor reviews and don't leave their names are just people looking for trouble. Please don't waste your time reading their reviews. For some reason they have a revenge problem with Kimm. I can guarantee the claims are false - go see for yourself and then judge! You will see that all these claims are false and these unprofessional losers have nothing better to do with their time then try to ruin someone else's life!
I went and visited the West Side Cats today. I was so impressed with what I discovered! Everyone there loves what they do and are 100% dedicated to the wonderful cats and kittens! They are so wonderful! I am pleased to say that I will be volunteering there from here on in! I showed up unannounced and did NOT see any of the negative things that I have seen in other reviews. Come see for yourself like I did - you will fall in love many times over!
The place is a rip-off run by phonies! They will gladly take a generous surrender fee and then provide minimal care (and no vet care) for cats you turn over to them. I surrendered several sweet, abandoned cats I had rescued and had paid to get spayed or neutered, vaccinated, etc. (but couldn't keep permanently in my residence) to this facility for a good-sized donation. I initially believed the smooth-talking head of the place that these cats would either be adopted into good homes or, if not adopted, live long, happy lives there -- and was told I could even visit them from time to time. When I tried to follow up on them several weeks later, a staff member told me they had been adopted. However, her tone of voice was slightly nervous, and her answers were evasive, and my "gut feeling" was that something was very wrong. Eventually I found out from one of this so-called shelter's former volunteers (who I met by chance a number of months later) that these cats had actually gotten very ill and died there in squalid conditions, and without even an attempt at getting them to a vet (or even giving them antibiotics or pain medication). So, if you want to give money to people who will apparently use it for other things rather than the care of the cats you turn over to them, this is the place to do it!
Review from Guidestar
This place is amazing. They work so hard and keep it very clean and smelling good. This is not easy to do with so many cats. They take care of a lot of special needs cats and keep them healthy and happy. The tree room upstairs is fantastic. They took me on a tour and showed me their hospital area. I was especially impressed with the separate laundry and sink for the hospital, so no hospital germs get mixed in with the shelter beds and towels. The ladies seem very dedicated and are very polite and informative. I made a small donation and they thanked me and offered me a receipt for my taxes. The cat in the wheelchair is very well taken care of and seems very loved and happy, as do all of the cats.
I have donated food, litter, garage sale items, towels and cleaning supplies on many occasions. The volunteers are always friendly and even if they are in the middle of cleaning they invite me in to visit and play with the cats.
All of the cats seem bright-eyed and healthy. There is always food and water available for them. The volunteers seem to keep the washers and driers running all the time so the cats have clean towels and beds.
Their clinic area is separated from the rest of the shelter. The sick cats are housed in large, clean cages with cat perches to sit on. They are separated according to what ailments they have. Small baskets clipped to the front of each cage contain the medicine for the cat in that cage and there are cards on each cage saying what medication that animal gets and how often.
All of the volunteers seemed very devoted to the cats and knew them by name and personality traits. These people work very hard keeping the place clean and smelling good, even though most of them are elderly or disabled.
I have been visiting this shelter at least monthly for approximately two years. My visits are unannounced and on different days of the week and at different times during the day. The cats/kittens and the shelter have always been in good condition, and every volunteer I've spoken to has been friendly, caring and knowledgeable. I ask anyone reading these reviews to stop by the shelter to see it in person, if they live in the Youngstown area. If you are not able to visit the shelter, I ask that you do not base your opinion on any negative reviews you read here or negative comments posted on social media sites. The shelter and its volunteers are helping, not hurting, cats, and it is not a "hellhole" as another reviewer stated - it's a typical cat shelter. It appears some are posting negative comments because they dislike certain individuals affiliated with the shelter. It's sad, because ultimately, it's the cats and kittens waiting for their forever homes that are being hurt. My husband and I are cat lovers with three cats in our family, and we would not hesitate to adopt from the shelter when the time comes to add another member to the family.
I drop off donations at lots of different times and without notice. Whenever I've come the shelter is clean or being cleaned if it's early in the morning. The cats are very well fed and healthy. The facility is beautiful. Most of these women are elderly or handicapped and they work very hard to maintain the shelter and care for the cats. This shelter is a tax-exempt non-profit, and they always offer me a receipt when I donate.
Funny, I didn't see any dead or dying cats. What I did see, whilst volunteering a couple weeks ago, was a clean, well-stocked shelter with a whole lot of cat beds, cat trees and living cats. I did see sick kitties in isolation in the clinic area, where they were getting treatment, I did see cats who had just been brought back from the vet. I just started volunteering there recently, and will be doing so again. It's a decent place, the cats are clearly cared for, and I honestly have to wonder what planet the other reviewers are on, here.