The Story of Bart the “Zombie Cat” and Why You Shouldn’t Believe Everything You Read on the Internet
Maybe you saw the story of Bart “the Zombie Cat,” allegedly risen from the dead after he was hit by a car and buried by his owners. The “zombie” claim should have been your first clue that this entire story was bullshit.
Let’s get some facts out of the way. First, we aren’t entirely clear on his name. He appears in the media as “Bart,” or “Markie” as neighbor Dusty Albritton identified him in a fundraiser she started to capitalize on his celebrity status — “Markie” because he “marked” everywhere as un-neutered male cats often do.
So, we know “Bart” or “Markie” was allowed to roam the neighborhood freely, balls intact, and may or may not have been hit by a car before he was “buried alive” and rose from the dead.
As a cat rescuer, the entire thing struck me as nonsense from the beginning.
Neighbor Dusty Albritton actually tried to claim a cat rose from the dead before. She even put video up on Facebook in April of 2014 (instead of going to a vet to get her care, as a reasonable person would do) of her own cat suffering claiming it to be a miracle.
“This is the beauty of life and death,” she is heard saying as a small cat convulses on a towel on a dirty floor. “One life is about to go to rainbow heaven and more lives are about to born.” She is referencing the pregnant cat lying next to the convulsing cat — because clearly these people don’t believe in spay/neuter nor vet care. See for yourself: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=417304241771895&set=vb.414729985362654&type=2&theater
In a later video which Dusty claims was filmed just hours after the seizure video, Cali, the cat seizing up on a towel in the first video, has risen from the dead. Dusty is heard on the video saying “I know she died, she died in my hands.” See: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=417305111771808&set=vb.414729985362654&type=2&theater
Back to Bart, or whatever his name is. The official story is that Bart was “hit by a car” though a video posted by — you guessed it — Dusty herself says he was attacked by an animal and that her own cat “died” the same day Bart did, hit by a car. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152670310281347&set=vb.570001346&type=2&theater
So, I’ve been following this thing from the start — my non-rescue friends who know I love and advocate cats were anxious to share the unbelievable story of the “zombie cat” with me, bless them— and now Dusty has started a NEW fundraiser on the Go Fund Me platform to raise another $10,000 (on top of the $7,000 she raised “for Bart’s medical issues” even though the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s Save-a-Pet fund covered all his extensive vet bills and care). I’m not OK with that.
The original fundraiser was reported countless times to Go Fund Me. Somehow, the comments many have left calling it a scam are gone from the page, but the fundraiser is still open.
Sick of this animal abuser and opportunist milking the situation, I attempted to email Go Fund Me directly tonight to call her out (since countless reports of fraud using their on site fraud reporting button have failed to halt this fundraiser didn’t work) and after I filled out a form on site, I got this:
Thanks so much for contacting us today. You have reached the correct email address for contacting GoFundMe — firstname.lastname@example.org.
We take fraud complaints very seriously at GoFundMe and would first like to get some more information from you about this campaign.
1. Do you know the person who created the GoFundMe campaign? 2. Are you 100% sure the information presented is fraudulent or inaccurate?
Please respond to these questions so we can file an official fraud complaint against this user. Additionally, we would appreciate you sending over any evidence that can help our investigation.
If you believe someone is committing fraud, or breaking the law in any other way, you may also contact local law enforcement officials in your area and we’ll be happy to work with them.
I do not know this person personally. But the evidence is damning. I do know for 100% the fundraiser on GFM is fraudulent, as the cat is currently in the care of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
I can send all evidence I have — as logged on Dusty’s own FB page — and will be copying the DoJ and local authorities, I just needed an actual address for you guys so thanks for that. I can copy email@example.com yeah?
The evidence speaks for itself, as in this video posted on YouTube by Dusty herself clearly damns the “owners” and all involved, while Dusty is calling it a “miracle” that this abused cat rose from the dead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpHzfQt12EY The text of her YouTube upload reads: “Was attacked by a racoon or pit bull 5 days ago he was buried stiff dead and a pool of blood. On 1 22 2015 he came to my door step alive I know for a fact this cat was dead. it has been confimed by the ASPCA he was in fact buried , many are having a hard time believing do you believe in Gods work and miracles?” So was it a car or was it a pitbull? Regardless, Bart should have gone to a VET, but instead he was supposedly buried in a shallow grave and is now a pawn for these animal abusers and irresponsible people to make money on his back through the Go Fund Me platform. Go Fund Me has received all these videos and even the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, which has treated “Bart” since he “rose from the dead” has seen them and spoken out against Dusty’s original fundraiser.
I didn’t hear back after my last email to Go Fund Me so I just went ahead and sent Go Fund Me the following:
Casey, this is the letter I will be circulating to the DoJ, the local FBI, and the FTC/FCC in that area, as well as Senators/Reps in Florida who should be aware of this situation. And the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Dept as well as the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, which cared for this cat from the beginning. GFM has been complicit in allowing this fraud to continue and we have plenty of screenshots to prove it, yet you chose to do nothing about it and now this person is at it again. Too bad.
“To Whom it May Concern, As Go Fund Me is more than aware, a woman named Dusty Albritton has used your platform to fraudulently raise nearly $7,000 for “Bart the Cat,” (see: http://www.gofundme.com/kqy6cg which is still active despite countless reports of fraud!) also known as “The Zombie Cat” in the media, a cat now in the care of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Ms. Albritton documented in her own videos on Facebook in 2014 another “zombie cat” that died of seizures. Then she claimed the cat “came back to life” a few hours later. See: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=417304241771895&set=vb.414729985362654&type=2&theater amd https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=417305111771808&set=vb.414729985362654&type=2&theater — we know, having followed this story from the beginning, that countless concerned individuals around the country have advised you of this and yet GFM has not taken action to shut this down. This is neglect, pure and simple. The cat in question — “Bart” or “Markie” was left for dead by his “owners” and video posted by Dusty herself says as much: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpHzfQt12EY around 2:25 the girlfriend of the owner says they couldn’t even look but he was moving, so just let someone else bury the cat. This should all be known to you, as countless at advocates around the country saw this video and told you as much. As I said, I have followed this story from the beginning — as a media professional and cat rescuer — and frankly, I am disgusted by the lack of response from the Go Fund Me team. Not only was the original fundraiser not shut down or at least frozen upon GFM learning that the funds raised were not going directly to the cat (the Humane Society of Tampa Bay covered all vet care from their Save-a-Pet fund), but Dusty Albritton has opened a new fundraiser on the GFM platform asking for $10,000 to fund a “legal defense” to put this cat back in the same home which not only allowed an unfixed male cat to wander outside but failed to get him prompt vet care after he was “hit by a car” or whatever it is Ms. Albritton is claiming these days. So she raised nearly $7000 on the first fundraiser and needs another $10000, again using your platform, to put this cat back into the same negligent home that “buried” him when he was still breathing according to the video Dusty herself posted on her Facebook page? That is sick. Is this the kind of fundraising Go Fund Me promotes? This cat was never a “zombie,” he was neglected, like so many other cats around the country that rescuers like myself take in, care for, and use platforms like yours to raise funds for. Abuse and neglect is not a “miracle” as Ms Albritton claims, it’s the same type of awful behavior cat rescuers like myself have to deal with every single day. I commend the Humane Society of Tampa Bay for all they have done for this cat, and am disgusted with Go Fund Me for allowing this woman to continue to use your platform to raise money under fraudulent claims. Despite countless reports from across the country that Ms. Albritton was using your platform to fraudulently raise money for a cat that was never hers and is currently in the care of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and their vet team (at ZERO cost to the original “owner”), she has now opened up a second fundraiser on your platform asking for $10,000 to cover “legal expenses” to bring this cat back to the same negligent home at which Bart sustained his injuries. See: http://www.gofundme.com/lr5sqs And you allow this? I, for one, am disgusted. I have never used your platform to raise funds for my non-profit efforts but I can only conclude from your lack of action that you care more about the cut you get from the money raised for fraudulent purposes than doing the right thing for the sake of animals. And that hurts all of us who rely on fundraising — by “all of us” I mean IRS 501c3 organizations accountable not only to the IRS but our donors, unlike Ms Albritton — because a platform like yours allows animal abusers and frauds to continue ripping people off under false pretences as Ms Albritton did through GFM. I will be sending this complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, and the authorities in Tampa Bay, as well as legislative representatives I know not only in Washington DC but around the country and Florida especially. I left a message with the FBI in that area since this is felony level fraud, but am completely disgusted by your lack of action here, especially letting Dusty start a NEW fundraiser on your platform for $10,000 to put the cat back in the same abusive place he came from. I mean really. This is just gross. Does Go Fund Me promote fraud AND animal abuse? That’s what I see. Again, I have watched this case from the beginning and it’s repulsive you haven’t acted sooner to shut this down. You are basically encouraging fraud by allowing this neighbor, who never owned this cat in the first place, to benefit financially by his plight. And that is sickening. I hope my fellow rescuers stay far away from your platform and that you, too, are held liable for the fraud here because Dusty saw an opportunity to make a buck on “zombie cat” all because she and her neighbors failed to get this cat vet care. So you then allow this person to post ANOTHER fundraiser for $10,000 because the $7000 she raised the first time wasn’t enough? Disgusting. I find this repulsive and I find Go Fund Me’s treatment of this obvious fraud even more disgusting. I have called the local authorities as well as the FBI to look into it and frankly, it’s a waste of their time, you should have never allowed it in the first place after you got countless complaints about it. Look at the comments.
I haven’t heard anything from Go Fund Me since. I even followed up since they were so prompt in answering my form email to make sure they got my letter but still nothing. That naturally leaves me wondering if GFM doesn’t mind that they are perpetuating a massive fraud, given the fact that countless others have already reported Dusty’s original fundraiser and she has now been allowed to create another using the platform.
This kind of reckless fundraising hurts those of us who raise money for good and who do so much for animals even if it takes our last dollar.
I applaud the Humane Society of Tampa Bay for taking this cat in and giving him the vet care he so desperately needed. Please, please keep him far away from these crazy assholes like his neighbor Dusty who has been trying for quite some time to cash in on a so-called “miracle” which is no more than the same abuse cat rescuers like me see every single day.
Shame on you, Go Fund Me, for enabling her.
If you would like to give directly to Bart’s care and to others that the Humane Society of Tampa Bay help, you can do so here.
In the meantime, you can report Dusty and her fraudulent Go Fund Me accounts to the Tampa FBI:
Phone: (813) 253–1000
Hillsborough Sheriff: 813–247–8000 or submit an online inquiry here: http://www.hcso.tampa.fl.us/getdoc/aba59046-1e3a-4edb-a2d0-a77b8f51220e/Contact.aspx
Go Fund Me can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org but don’t expect them to do anything.
Please also see the What’s going on with Bart the Cat Facebook page for more evidence: https://www.facebook.com/BartorMarkie
Bart has many animal advocates rooting for him and I for one am glad he is in the capable hands of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
It’s not too late to do the right thing, Dusty. Nor is it too late for Go Fund Me to do the right thing. Thankfully, her latest scam to raise $10,000 to bring Bart home to his very abusers has raised exactly $0 so far.
Edit: I got this tonight from Go Fund Me. Mind you both of Dusty’s bullshit campaigns are still going on GFM.
C.J. (GoFundMe Customer Happiness)
Feb 7, 8:25 PM
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I understand you have strong feelings about this campaign, as do many of our donors. We are presently investigating the campaign and taking appropriate action. If you have any further information to add to the overall report, please simply reply to this email with that.
In addition to the report you have submitted to us, we do encourage you to contact law enforcement officials in your area if you believe this user is committing fraud or breaking the law in any way.
We will follow up with you only if we have any further questions.
I asked Go Fund Me for comment and they sent poor C.J. to send me that.