Caboodle Ranch dissolved, ordered to liquidate all assets

Jul 01 2014

Caboodle Ranch dissolved by order of Madison County Superior Court

No wonder Caboodle Ranch has been so quiet!

On June 27th, 2014, the court handed down a stunning defeat for Caboodle Ranch. Caboodle Ranch is ordered to:

  • Dissolve Caboodle Ranch.
  • Immediately stop accepting animals.
  • Immediately stop accepting donations of cash or materials. (As of July 1st, Caboodle Ranch is in violation of this agreement, as they are still soliciting and accepting donations on their website.)
  • Remove all animals from the property, including the 45 animals being kept there illegally.
  • Liquidate all assets.
  • Cease all expenditures.
  • Ensure that Madison County Animal Control has access to all areas of Caboodle Ranch to conduct random, unannounced inspections.

If Caboodle Ranch fails to meet any of these requirements, they will be held in criminal contempt of court and subject to sanctions.

By no later than October 1, 2014, Caboodle shall be finished “winding up” and “liquidating” its affairs and be dissolved. To be clear, by this date, Caboodle shall no longer be conducting any affairs, “winding up” or otherwise, shall not have possession or custody of any animals, shall not own any assets and shall not open any bank accounts.

What does this mean for Caboodle Ranch?

For the short term, it means that Caboodle Ranch is finished in the state of Florida. They have been ordered to dissolve the nonprofit entity known as Caboodle Ranch, and if they choose to start a new scheme to solicit donations, it will be at least a year before they can do so as a nonprofit.

Furthermore, given Caboodle Ranch’s criminal history, it is unlikely that the IRS will grant them a new nonprofit exemption.

Caboodle Ranch raked in a quarter million dollars in one year from deceived donors, and they’re not going to give up that scheme willingly. However, they’ll have a much harder time gaining a toehold. If Caboodle Ranch resurfaces in Georgia, as they have vowed to do, they will find that the local government is no more willing to put up with fraud and animal cruelty than Madison County was.

But this time, the authorities have been warned…. and they are ready.

We will bring you further developments as they happen.

Craig Grant released from probation, immediately faces contempt of court charges

Jun 23 2014

One year ago, Craig Grant narrowly escaped criminal prosecution by accepting a plea deal. The resulting probation and deferred prosecution agreement were discharged on May 29th of this year, prompting cries of victory on the Ranch’s Facebook page.

Those claims of victory were premature.

The County Court has ordered Caboodle Ranch to appear before the judge and explain why they should not be punished for criminal contempt of court. In the hearing set for June 27, 2014, Caboodle Ranch will answer charges that they have intentionally violated the court’s 2012 injunction prohibiting them from possessing or having custody of animals.

The evidence submitted by the Sheriff includes the Ranch’s own pictures and Facebook posts showing cats currently on the property, fundraising pleas for cat food, and the Ranch’s 2012 tax return claiming expenditures for food and other cat-related expenses.

Caboodle Ranch has been launching desperate fundraisers on the promise that the Ranch is “back in business”. On June 27th, the court will step in once again to put an end to that boast.

Post made to Caboodle Ranch's Facebook page proclaiming they are 'back in business'.

Craig Grant avoids jail, admits guilt on all charges

May 22 2013

Craig Grant after his arrest in Feb. 2012

On May 15th, Craig Grant signed a deferred prosecution agreement with the prosecutors in his criminal case.

It’s a short document with huge implications.

A deferred prosecution agreement is a form of plea bargaining in which the defendant agrees to meet certain conditions. If the defendant successfully meets those conditions, the prosecutor dismisses the charges. If the defendant does not meet the conditions, prosecution resumes.

This is common in white collar crime, first offenses, and crimes where mental illness or substance abuse may have been a significant factor. For example, a court may require a DUI offender to complete a treatment program and community service. In exchange, jail time and a criminal record are avoided.

Here are the terms — and the deeper significance — of Craig Grant’s deferred prosecution.

Craig Grant’s probationary period will last two years. If he complies with all terms of the agreement, the probationary period may be terminated after one year. Conversely, if he does not cooperate, the period may be extended indefinitely.

He may be prosecuted on felony and misdemeanor charges if any of the following occur:

  • He violates the law.
  • He is not employed, disabled, retired, or a full-time student.
  • He moves and does not notify his case worker.
  • He fails to pay $1,790.00 in fees and court costs.
  • He fails to complete counseling or refuses to take prescribed medication.
  • He fails to comply with the Madison County ordinances regarding the maximum number of animals permitted.

Prosecution may commmence as soon as the State Attorney determines that Grant is in violation of any of these conditions. However, the agreement closes with a clause that would significantly change that nature of that prosecution:

Craig Grant's admission of guilt

In other words, Craig Grant has formally admitted that he is guilty of multiple misdemeanor and felony animal cruelty charges. Should he violate any condition in this agreement, his prosecution will proceed with the understanding that he has already confessed to committing those crimes.

Caboodle Ranch has attempted to twist the truth by claiming that Craig Grant has not admitted guilt. It is true that he has not entered a formal guilty plea, because he has not yet been tried for his crimes. But by signing this legally binding document, he has unambiguously admitted his guilt in the charges brought against him.

For most people, the terms of the agreement would not be difficult to comply with. Obey the law. Don’t collect animals. See your counselor and take your medication. Don’t skip town.

It’s a virtual “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

But for a hoarder currently under court orders not to possess any live animal, these simple requirements present serious challenges.

Recently, Craig Grant was found to be in possession of a sick possum. He refused to provide the possum with care or to turn it over to a licensed professional as required by state law. The ailing animal was ultimately confiscated by Florida’s Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Had this taken place after the deferred prosecution agreement was signed, he would be in violation of the agreement and subject to full and immediate prosecution.

Additionally, the difficult nature of hoarding coupled with Grant’s history of personal neglect and denial could make psychiatric counseling especially problematic. If he refuses prescribed treatment or fails to complete counseling — both very common occurrences when dealing with mental illness — he risks renewed prosecution.

The events of the next 12 months will give an indication of how this story will end. If Craig Grant cannot conquer his impulses, he faces jail and crippling penalties. If he can control his compulsion to hoard animals for one year, if he complies with the law and meets the terms of the agreement, he will go free… but that doesn’t mean he’s free to begin hoarding again.

Regardless of the outcome of the agreement, Caboodle Ranch is finished. The horrors that occurred on those seven acres of land have been exposed; the careless and potentially criminal misuse of nonprofit funds has been documented. The donations that brought in half a million dollars over two year period have dried up. The shadow of the IRS will still be looming overhead for years to come, and when that weight comes crashing down on the directors of Caboodle Ranch, there will be no deferred prosecution. The IRS is relentless and remorseless.

A Caboodle Ranch survivor finds a new home

If the law fails us, if the drive to hoard animals overpowers common sense and Craig Grant attempts to resume his abuse in another state, we will be there to stop it, with every tool at our disposal. Never again will he be permitted to cause the suffering and anguish he inflicted on those cats.

Yet all of this fades into insignificance in light of the real victory: the victims of Caboodle Ranch have been saved.

Right now, a Caboodle Ranch survivor is curled up on the lap of a little girl, purring like a steam engine. He is the center of that little girl’s world, and he doesn’t compete with hundreds of other cats for a moment of her affection.

He is warm, he is loved. He is happy.

He is safe from coyotes and snakebite and death on the dirt roads of Caboodle Ranch. The eye he lost to an untreated infection no longer pains him. If he gets sick again, a professional veterinarian will tend his illness with compassion and care. He will not be thrown into an overcrowded trailer filled with the stench of sickness and death and decay, surrounded by the wheezes and gasps of cats choking out their last breaths.

When he does pass from this world, as we all must, it will not be alone and in agony. His bones will not litter Caboodle Ranch, ignored and forgotten as they bleach in the Florida sun. He will go gently. His family will mourn him, and he will leave this world having known the happiness of a true home.

That is our quiet victory, a triumph multiplied more than 700 times. We celebrate that success.

One year later, Caboodle Ranch still feigns ignorance

Mar 13 2013

On March 9th, the Caboodle Ranch Facebook page posted a series of disingenuous questions designed to provoke outrage over the rescue of their abused cats.

The answers to those questions may be found below.

1. Who authorized the raid?

The warrant for search and seizure were lawfully requested by the Sheriff of Madison County for violations of Florida Statutes §828.12, §828.13, and §817.034. The warrant was approved and signed by Judge Gregory S. Parker.

2. Why was the ranch raided before the Excess Animal Habitat ordinance requirements were met?

The Board of County Commissioners is not a law enforcement agency. When a crime and evidence of that crime — including multiple dead and dying cats and cats suffering from extreme neglect — were reported to the Sheriff, it was determined by his office that the cats were in immediate jeopardy. The cats were then removed from the Ranch for their own safety.

CR’s failure to comply with the requirements of the EAH has nothing to do with the criminal neglect and animal cruelty that led to the raid. Asking why one agency ordered CR to make improvements to the Ranch and another arrested them for felony crimes is like asking why a child molester got a parking ticket before being arrested. They are two entirely different violations.

3. Is it possible that Jamie Willoughby was not involved in the raid?

Yes. Willoughby did not perform his duties as an animal control officer, and allowed Caboodle Ranch to continue to operate despite numerous violations and mounting evidence of the abuse at Caboodle Ranch. For example, one email from Jamie Willoughby clearly arranges a time and date for an “unannounced” inspection of Caboodle Ranch; plenty of time for the sickest cats to be hidden away in a trailer which Willoughby never inspected.

In light of that appalling lapse in Willoughby’s responsibility, it’s entirely possible that he was removed from further involvement in the case.

4. Why was Craig’s original bond set for $250,000? Is animal cruelty more heinous than a Zimmerman shooting?

Craig’s bond was set at $250,000 because he was accused of multiple felonies, and that’s what the judge set his bail at. Different jurisdictions have wildly different guidelines on bail amounts, and the judges in these cases have considerable latitude in deciding bail amounts.

Additionally, the Trayvon Martin case did not involve suspected fraud and nearly one million dollars in donations over a period of years. One might assume that this made Craig Grant — a man previously arrested on felony charges of obtaining money under false pretenses — more of a flight risk than someone with no prior criminal history.

But again, this is apples to oranges: those are two different cases in two different jurisdictions with two different judges.

5. Why was the Excess Animal Habitat Ordinance necessary and why wasn’t CR grandfathered?

The numerous complaints from neighbors made the need for tighter regulation obvious. There was no reason to allow one facility to ignore these very sensible and basic rules just because they’ve previously ignored them and are used to doing business in that manner.

And once again, this is an irrelevant distraction: Craig Grant’s felony arrest had nothing to do with the EAH ordinance and its enforcement. He was arrested for felony and misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty, confining animals without food and water, and scheming to defraud.

6. Did Bebe and Goliath’s World get a permit because Loretta Swit is the celebrity spokesperson?

No. Bebe and Goliath’s World got a permit because they were able to meet the requirements of the EAH, which are not extreme and are easily met by any facility that has been following minimal animal welfare guidelines.

7. Why was the ASPCA/CR costs hearing stopped to give the ASPCA more time to present its case?

The judge in this case has made every effort to allow both sides to present their case with as much detail as needed.

8. Now that the ASPCA has been found to be an unlawful participant in the raid, why is it coming back to court to amend an order it violated in August?

This is a false assertion. The ASPCA was not an unlawful participant in the raid. Their assistance was lawfully requested by the Sheriff of Madison County; however, the Sheriff and the ASPCA did not take the additional step of having the ASPCA officially appointed as an official agent of the State, a step they likely believed was unnecessary given the involvement of animal welfare groups in hundreds upon hundreds of animal cruelty raids and seizures in Florida previously.

It is a technicality that prevented the ASPCA from being awarded costs in the case, but it is by no means a vindication of Caboodle Ranch or an indication of any unlawful activity by the Sheriff or the ASPCA. The judge has never suggested or stated that the Sheriff or the ASPCA acted unlawfully.

Furthermore, the ASPCA did not violate any order of the court. Because the ASPCA is not a party in the custody hearing, it is not under the jurisdiction of the court, and not subject to the court’s injunction. Despite this, the ASPCA has complied with every order of the court. Caboodle Ranch may be confusing the actions of the local shelters and rescues which held adoption events with the actions of the ASPCA; these organizations were also not bound by (or named in) the court’s orders.

9. Why was the CR bond based on a spread sheet with no substantiating data?

The costs in the case were submitted under penalty of perjury. There was no reason to question the reality of the ASPCA’s expenses in the seizure, emergency medical treatment, and extended care of hundreds of abused cats. Had there been an issue of verification, the ASPCA could have provided documentation, but the judge may have felt there was no need for the court to pore over boxes of receipts at that time given that the ASPCA’s right to collect those costs was in question.

10. Why was the case moved from the county court with a $15K limit, to the circuit court, with a much higher limit? Who benefited? (not CR.)

Caboodle Ranch complained that the amount of the bond exceeded the $15K limit of the county court, but that limit specifies a limit on damages, not costs or bond amounts. The County motioned to transfer the case to a higher court under Florida’s Rules of Civil Procedure, §1.060(a), which states: “If it should appear at any time that an action is pending in the wrong court of any county, it may be transferred to the proper court within said county…”

This negated Caboodle Ranch’s attempt to derail the proceedings. The hearing proceeded in circuit court, and Caboodle Ranch lost.

11. Three prosecution and one defense witness have testified under oath that they did not see any evidence of intentional animal cruelty at CR. Why is the state persisting to waste resources on the criminal case?

The suffering at Caboodle Ranch was very real, and heavily documented. While there is anecdotal evidence of Craig Grant roughly handling cats, there is no evidence that cats were physically abused in the sense of being kicked or struck; that is a different sort of cruelty than the deliberate neglect which he is currently charged with.

“Intentional animal cruelty” does not preclude criminal neglect.

Many witnesses testified that they did observe the suffering and neglect of hundreds of cats. Dozens of dead cats were found on the property, including two corpses decomposing in a vanity in the structure where Craig Grant slept. Caboodle Ranch’s own veterinarian stated that Craig Grant was unable to care for that many cats; that he had records for less than 200 of those cats, 50 of them deceased; that he did not disagree with the animal welfare experts who stated that “the sanctuary does not currently meet minimum guidelines for cat health and welfare”; that the Ranch did not comply with recommendations to fix those problems; that cats with dire and painful diseases were not humanely euthanized and were instead allowed to suffer, against the recommendations of Dr. Lewis and animal welfare experts.

The testimony of Caboodle Ranch’s vet, animal welfare experts, and law enforcement carries more weight than that of Caboodle Ranch volunteers who have been complicit in covering up and denying the suffering of the cats.

12. What can CR supporters do?

Stop supporting animal cruelty. Learn the facts of the case, and accept the indisputable fact that Caboodle Ranch allowed cats to suffer and die under horrible neglect.

And stop donating legal fees of a suspected animal abuser when there are cash-strapped organizations — and millions of cats — who are so much more worthy of your help.

Messages From Craig: A Response

Jan 28 2013

On January 24, 2013, Caboodle Ranch posted a commentary filled with half-truths and whole lies. This announcement, entitled “Some Messages from Craig,” appears below with the information that was not provided to readers.

We can’t give up now as we have beaten the ASPCA in the costs hearing because the ASPCA was not a legal agent of the county.

The ASPCA was not an appointed agent of the county, but was contracted by the Sheriff to assist in the seizure and investigation. They were not breaking any laws by not being appointed as an official agent, it just hindered them from recovering their costs.

Sources:
§828.03(2) F.S.

 

I wanted to tell you a little about running the ranch. Running the Ranch is almost like running a zoo, but even zoos don’t have 24-hour cleaning services. Mornings at the ranch were messy, like they are in most shelters. By afternoon, the ranch was spotless and visitors could drop by. When the ASPCA and the raiders came so early on that rainy morning, things were a mess. Had they come later in the day, it would have looked like a different place. The cleaning crew has a routine and it doesn’t take a huge staff to make the place perfect. There aren’t individual cages to clean and disinfect, except in the sick ward. Caboodle had several large, outdoor litter boxes, which were recommended by Dr. Lewis. The cats mostly stayed outdoors, but there were some indoor boxes in the barns. But Caboodle was not like a typical shelter and comparing a free-range sanctuary to an enclosed shelter is wrong. The cleaning needs are very different. The people who raided the ranch did not have experience with outdoor sanctuaries, and Caboodle cats paid the price.

Caboodle Ranch was more than messy, it was unfit for humans to live in, let alone cats. The filth was not due to being busted before “morning cleaning” — a common excuse for hoarders when caught.

Grant’s sleeping chair was covered in feces and urine. Cats were found dead and decomposing in a cabinet. Bones were scattered where cats were living. None of those atrocities happened overnight.

CR was not like a zoo, sanctuary, or working ranch. It was a cat hoarding operation. Caboodle Ranch had no permanent staff, just a few intermittent volunteers. For the number of cats at the Ranch, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians recommends at least 18 full-time employees working 8 hours a day 7 days a week to properly care for the cats. Proper care is defined as daily sanitation of the facilities, litter boxes, dishes, and laundry; providing fresh food and water; medicating; and monitoring for illnesses and injuries and providing appropriate medical care. Cat House on the Kings (a legitimate sanctuary housing over 700 cats) has 20 full-time employees, including an on-site veterinarian.

Furthermore, visitors were not allowed to just “drop by”. As stated on the Caboodle Ranch blog, visiting hours were only by appointment, on Saturdays, between the hours of 2pm and 4pm, and were screened by the Ranch’s property manager, Nanette Entriken.

Sources:
Crime scene photos
Veterinary inspection, 2009
Association of Shelter Veterinarians
Caboodle Ranch blog, Mar. 11, 2011

 

The cleaning crew has a routine and it doesn’t take a huge staff to make the place perfect. There aren’t individual cages to clean and disinfect, except in the sick ward. Caboodle had several large, outdoor litter boxes, which were recommended by Dr. Lewis. The cats mostly stayed outdoors, but there were some indoor boxes in the barns.

There was no cleaning crew. Caboodle Ranch had intermittent help at best. In fact, CR posted on their website on October 22, 2010, that they were no longer accepting volunteers due to complaints filed with animal control and other agencies. No reputable rescue or shelter discourages volunteer help because those volunteers might expose problems at the facility.

A huge operation the size of Caboodle would have greater need for staffing than most facilities.

Sources:
A Day at the Ranch, Oct. 22, 2010

 

But Caboodle was not like a typical shelter and comparing a free-range sanctuary to an enclosed shelter is wrong. The cleaning needs are very different. The people who raided the ranch did not have experience with outdoor sanctuaries, and Caboodle cats paid the price.

The organizations that seized and cared for the cats have extensive experience with cats living in both indoor and outdoor environments. The cleaning needs inside the buildings and cat houses are just like any other shelter. Floors, cages, litter boxes, bowls and bedding all need to be sanitized daily. At Caboodle Ranch, they were not.

Sources:
Crime scene photos
On-site photos, 2010-2012

 

I want to tell you about respiratory problems that cats in a large colony can get. Jamie Willoughby, the Animal Control officer, told me URIs are common in all herds, including sheep, goats, or cats. Dr. Levy, the U FL vet said that cats were better off in the open air, and will get better sooner outside. I only put the cats that would run from me when they saw the medicine bottle, or ones that needed to be closely monitored in the sick ward.

Dr. Levy, a nationally respected veterinarian, assessed Caboodle Ranch on May 6, 2009 at the request of Animal Control and the Sheriff’s department. Nowhere in her report did she say that cats with upper respiratory infections are better off in the open air, mingling with other cats. Dr. Levy outlined numerous problems with a free-roaming, outdoor lifestyle, including the “inability to disinfect the environment from infectious feline diseases.”

She noted that more than half of the observable cats were infected with URIs, and recommended that cats with transmittable diseases be immediately isolated from other cats. URIs are extremely transmittable and when left untreated, deadly. No competent veterinarian would recommend allowing cats with transmittable diseases to mingle and infect one another.

The ASPCA testified in the custody hearing that 39% of the population of cats seized had URIs. 82% of those were roaming among the general population of cats.

Sources:
Summary of Findings, Dr. Julie Levy
Exhibit 9: Total URI Prevalence by Location
WebMD: Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats
UC Davis: Feline Upper Respiratory Infection

 

Since I started the ranch, I’ve taken my cats to eight different vets, and no one on the prosecution side ever contacted any of them. In 2003 and 2004, Melrose Animal Hospital cared for my cats. Marilyn, the vet, spayed and neutered lots of my cats at her clinic at the Putnam County Humane Society.

The only vet records that Caboodle Ranch produced in the custody hearing were from Dr. Lewis’ office. Dr. Lewis estimated that he had 200 individual cat files, 60 to 80 of which were deceased. No records from other veterinarians were provided.

If Caboodle Ranch did indeed use other veterinarians, it was their responsibility to contact those vets and request copies of the records. The Sheriff provided sufficient proof of neglect and cruelty to warrant the custody hearing; proving appropriate care was the responsibility of Caboodle Ranch. They were unable to produce that evidence.

Sources:
Cross-Examination of Dr. John C. Lewis

 

She introduced me to the antibiotics, Clavamox and Doxycycline, which stopped some of the cats’ illness almost immediately. Marilyn helped me by ordering a dozen bottles of Clavamox, a bottle of 500 capsules of Doxy, and 100 vials of #4 vaccines. I was able to give all my cats a booster shot. I personally paid for these medicines from 2003 – 2007. I didn’t become a charity until 2007, so all ranch expenses were on me until then, at which time I took a $1000/month salary for managing the ranch, and still paid for some of the medicines out of my salary.

Because all my files were taken in the search, which may have been an “illegal search,” I neglected to show that I bought $8000 of medical supplies online in 2011. Antibiotics, IV bags, needles, and whatever I needed to treat my babies at the ranch instead of taking them to the vet. A box of Clavamox cost $168. Home care helped save on medical bills, and I gave 100% to care for the cats. In court Dr. Lewis stated that my care was reasonable.

There was no “illegal search;” the signed and legal warrant clearly authorized the Sheriff to seize “any and all records in written or electronic form pertaining to the solicit, receipt, and/or use of donations made to Caboodle Ranch, Inc. or to Craig Grant,” as well as “any and all financial documentation including, but not limited to, statements of bank accounts… or any other documentation bearing or associated with the name Caboodle Ranch, Inc. or Craig Grant.” Copies of all files necessary for Craig Grant’s defense were available to his attorney upon request.

Grant has no formal training on diagnosing and treating cats. In the final order in the custody hearing against Caboodle Ranch, the judge stated: “Caboodle is clearly and substantially lacking in the resources, ability, skill, and (most importantly) willingness to follow expert veterinary advice…”

The evidence for this ruling is plentiful.

According to Dr. Levy’s findings, Craig diagnosed and treated cats based on his suspicion. In 2011 a reporter, Leonora LaPeter Anton, did an article on CR and wrote that she witnessed Grant going around randomly putting medication in cats’ mouths without cleaning the applicator between doses. Craig Grant has admitted to routinely using toxic Clorox wipes to clean cats’ eyes, ears, and faces.

Clavamox requires refrigeration. It spoils rapidly above room temperature, even more rapidly when carried in a pocket. Craig Grant clearly did not know this or did not heed these instructions, as he has been reported dispensing the medication at random from his pocket. Twelve bottles of Clavamox are approximately enough to give twelve cats a single course of antibiotic. But with no record of treatment and no way of identifying or locating individual cats, there was no way to ensure that a given cat received a full course of the antibiotic.

PETA’s investigation found a filthy refrigerator full of maggots, with expired bottles of medicine. Caboodle Ranch claims the cabin it was in was unused, but has offered no explanation for why medications were left to expire and food was left to rot for such a long period of time.

Sources:
Search Warrant
PeTA: Investigative photos
Summary of Findings, Dr. Julie Levy
A stray of a man creates a huge cat family in Madison County, Tampa Bay Times
A Day at the Ranch, deleted blog article, May 02, 2012

 

In 2006 and 2007, Carol, one of my volunteers who lived near Jacksonville, made the long trip to the ranch every day. She helped with expenses by bringing cat food and supplies. Carol took many of the cats to Scott Mill Hospital and paid for the visits. I recently stopped by the hospital and talked to the vet. He said he was very sorry to hear what happened. He also told me that an animal control officer who comes to his hospital, told him that he was at the Jacksonville shelter where my cats were taken, and he said only about 30 cats were in need of medical attention. A lot of the cats were overweight, and the vet laughed and said you treated them good.

The veterinary records from Scott Mill Hospital are available in the Document Library. They show a level of care completely inadequate to the number of cats and the severity of their condition.

Grant has repeatedly made false claims about his interactions with animal welfare professionals. He never mentions the animal control officer or the vet by name, so this hearsay is flimsier than most.

Sources:
Caboodle Ranch Veterinary Records, Scott Mill Hospital

 

When Carol couldn’t volunteer anymore, I started taking the cats to Dr. Lewis. I spent $90,000 from 2008 through 2011, in vet care alone. Dr. Lewis also made visits to the ranch and gave booster shots to the herd in 2011, and was doing the booster shots in 2012 when the raid occurred. A vet that owned Dancing Paws gave booster shots in 2010. I had plenty of vials of vaccines given to me by the vets so I could go after any cats that were missed. My food expense for 2011 was $53,000, all Purina products. The daily cost for the wet food that the cats loved was $75/day.

The cats at Caboodle Ranch did not receive annual vaccinations or exams. In the 8 years the ranch was open, Grant states in the above claim that the “herd” received only 3 instances of vaccinations. According to veterinary records, only a fraction were vaccinated during each instance. It is impossible to know which cats did or did not receive vaccinations, as Caboodle Ranch did not keep individual medical records and had no system for identifying individual cats.

Claims of vet and food expenses cannot be verified since Caboodle Ranch has not filed its 2011 tax return. However, in 2010, Caboodle Ranch reported $18,207 in vet expenses to the IRS. Based on 700 cats, that’s a mere $26/year per cat. And of those vet care expenses, Caboodle Ranch claims that $5,000 was spent solely on the care of one cat, Tommy.

According to the American Pet Products Association, cat owners spend an average of $219 annually on routine veterinary visits. That includes only an annual exam and vaccinations, heartworm prevention, and parasite prevention. The estimate does not include costs to treat illnesses or injuries which would raise the average to approximately $516 a year.

In reality the amount spent by CR per cat is much lower than $26. No one knows the exact number of cats that entered Caboodle Ranch, but never came out.

Sources:
HSUS: Pet Ownership Statistics
A Day at the Ranch, Mar. 5, 2012

 

Remember the PeTA video the spy took? It was one of her jobs to take cats to Dr. Lewis. She decided to fulfill her obligation to PeTA by taking photos of cats that had either just been to the vet, or were just going. It makes me sick to see the video of Ms. Plume, the three-legged cat running away from her. The cat was happy, but still a little scared. Sometimes she hid behind the toilet until I came to see her. She wasn’t perfect, and was one of the first cats the ASPCA put down. I’ll never forget her on my lap looking up at me. I held her each night until she calmed down.

PETA’s investigator routinely brought the suffering of individual cats to Grant’s attention, but requests for veterinary care and offers to rush suffering and even dying cats to a veterinarian for emergency medical attention were often dismissed. Sworn testimony backs up these claims.

Sadly, “Ms. Plume,” the three-legged cat seen in the PeTA undercover video who was never referred to by name at Caboodle Ranch until she became a fundraising ploy, continued to decline after her rescue from Caboodle Ranch. At the time of the raid, Ms. Plume — identified in the Offense Incident Report as a 3-legged DMH cat — was suffering from severe emaciation (body condition scale 2 of 9), dehydration (7-10%), fur matted to the skin, and was soaked in urine. Most significantly, the cat was unable to walk not because of the amputated leg (which most cats quickly learn to compensate for), but because of her advanced deterioration at Caboodle Ranch that left her too weak to stand.

Veterinary experts were unable to reverse the damage Ms. Plume suffered at Caboodle Ranch, and were eventually forced to humanely euthanize the cat.

Sources:
PeTA: Caboodle Cat Ranch Expose
Affidavit for Search Warrant
Madison County Sheriff’s Office: Offense Incident Report

 

I will continue to give you facts about life on the ranch. My life hangs by a thread now, and if something should happen to me, I want the truth known. My life was destroyed and I put Nanette and my family through hell for months. When it became too much for me, I just didn’t want to live anymore. The local police heard about my mood, and took me to a psychiatric ward in Tallahassee for a day. A doctor on duty understood how awful the attack on my ranch was. He told me I had PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, and gave me the proper medicines. I am fighting to have my name, my ranch, and my reputation restored to me. I still suffer the loss of my loved ones everyday. Imagine if your pets were taken from you at the point of a gun. It happened to me, here in the United States. And about 30 miles away, some of my cats are in cages, still, almost a year later.

The majority of the cats rescued from Caboodle Ranch have found forever homes, where they receive the love and care they were denied at Caboodle Ranch. Many are crippled, blind, and disfigured from the neglect they suffered at the Ranch. Yet Craig Grant’s concern is not for the cats, but for himself and the “ordeal” he believes he has been put through: his reputation, his ranch, his suffering.

Craig Grant’s self-absorption, his ominous warnings about “if something should happen to me,” and his psychiatric hospitalization are not unexpected.

Animal hoarding is characterized by a denial or lack of insight about the deteriorating conditions of the animals under the hoarder’s control. Because the hoarder is psychologically dependent on the animals for self-esteem, identity, and control, the removal of these animals often results in depression and suicidal behaviors.

Nothing we have seen in the Caboodle Ranch case is out of character for the “exploiter hoarder” model of animal hoarding, in which the hoarder lacks empathy for the animals and is indifferent to the harm they cause. Animal welfare agencies were helpless to compel Craig Grant to seek psychiatric care, but the intervention of law enforcement has put an end to the damage he caused.

Sources:
Animal Hoarding: Slipping into the Darkness of Co-Morbid Animal and Self-Neglect
ASPCA: Animal Hoarding
Texas A&M: Animal Hoarding: Identifying the Disease

Happy endings for Caboodle cats

Aug 08 2012

After months of legal delays by Caboodle Ranch, the cats are finally available for adoption!

The first three massive adoption events are scheduled for the weekend of August 11-12, 2012.

Please share the news so that these cats have the best possible chances of being adopted!

If you cannot adopt a Caboodle cat from the Florida locations, please consider adopting a cat from your local shelter. Or, if you cannot adopt, please make a donation to your local or national animal welfare groups, or volunteer at your local shelter in memory of the victims and survivors of Caboodle Ranch cruelty.

For more adoption information, please visit the ASPCA website.

ASPCA Press Release: ASPCA Applauds Florida Court Decision

Jun 27 2012

ASPCA Applauds Florida Court Decision Placing Custody of Animals Seized From Caboodle Ranch, Inc. With Madison County Sheriff

Hundreds of ASPCA responders providing extensive care for animals in a temporary shelter since February

June 26, 2012

ASPCA Media Contact

NEW YORK — The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) applauds the decision of the County Court, Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Fla., ordering the animals seized from Caboodle Ranch, Inc. (“Caboodle”) on February 27, 2012, as part of a criminal animal cruelty investigation, to be remanded to the custody of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. The Court stripped Caboodle, a Fla. not-for-profit corporation, of all right, title or interest in the animals seized from its facility in February and prohibited Caboodle from possessing other animals.

The ASPCA has managed the sheltering of the hundreds of animals (almost all cats) removed from the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions at Caboodle in Lee, Fla., approximately 64 miles east of Tallahassee, for the past four months.

“We are pleased that the Court so strongly affirmed what we knew to be true from our work on this case—that Caboodle has not provided adequate care for the animals in the past and is not fit to do so in the future,” said Stacy Wolf, vice president of the ASPCA.

“The Court’s decision has the best interest of the animals at heart,” said Tim Rickey, senior director of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response team. “As the Court noted, cats at Caboodle lived in filth; many were sick and in pain; hundreds of ASPCA responders have made an extraordinary effort to care for these cats over the past four months in order to bring them back to a basic level of health. Our hope is that we will soon be able to help them find the homes, special adoption arrangements or colonies they so richly deserve.”

Among some of the Court’s findings:

The evidence demonstrated “clearly and convincingly, that the Caboodle animals were not receiving proper and reasonable care while in the custody of Caboodle.” (Order ¶ 8)
“Caboodle’s own veterinarian testified that the number of animals on the Caboodle property on the date of the seizure significantly exceeded the limits he had recommended. . .” (Order ¶ 10f)
Caboodle “depended upon a continuing influx of new animals for its financial survival. It is more likely than not that Caboodle would continue to fail to abide by the recommendations of its own veterinarian regarding population limitations if the animals were returned.” (Order ¶ 10g)
“Sick animals were not adequately isolated. . .” (Order ¶ 10j)
“. . . Caboodle is clearly and substantially lacking in the resources, ability, skill and (most importantly) willingness to follow expert veterinary advice essential to an operation dedicated to the care of such a large and apparently ever-growing number of animals it seemed intent on sheltering.” (Order ¶ 11)

The following criminal charges are pending against the founder of Caboodle: one count of felony animal cruelty; three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty; and one count of scheming to defraud (felony).


Source: http://www.aspca.org/Pressroom/press-releases/062612

ASPCA Alert: Former Owners May Now Identify Cats

Jun 26 2012

ASPCA ALERT



The ASPCA is asking former owners who left cats with Caboodle Ranch to call their hotline at (917) 572-4407. Former owners may schedule an appointment to help identify and claim their cat(s).

Order Placing Animals

Jun 25 2012

The final order in the custody hearing for the Caboodle Ranch cats has been handed down.

1. Judge Parker ordered that the animals remain in the custody of Sheriff Ben Stewart to dispose of as he sees fit. Caboodle has no further right, title, or interest in the Caboodle Animals.

2. Caboodle is enjoined (banned) from having possession or custody of live animals going forward. However, in the future Caboodle may petition the court for changes, modifications, or termination of the injunction. Upon receipt of the petition, the court will hold a hearing and Caboodle must provide evidence that it can care for animals in a responsible manner.

3. The Caboodle Animals shall not be released to the Sheriff until the court, in the Criminal Case, or State’s attorney, authorizes such release.

The judge goes into great detail explaining how he came to his decision.

The Order Placing Animals is now available in the Document Library.

ASPCA Spends $1.2 Million for Care of Caboodle Cats

Jun 22 2012

In a letter to the judge, Director Tim Rickey of the ASPCA details how $1.2 million has been spent on care for Caboodle Ranch cats. In addition to medical care and basic necessities, the cats are receiving behavioral enrichment to “remedy the effects of the severe neglect and lack of socialization they experienced during their time at Caboodle Ranch.”

Rickey also outlines the ASPCA’s plans for finding homes for all the cats, as they did for 700 cats in the May, 2011 disater in Joplin, MO.

 

 

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