Caboodle Ranch dissolved, ordered to liquidate all assets

Jul 01 2014 Published by under News

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.

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

Jun 23 2014 Published by under News

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'.

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Craig Grant avoids jail, admits guilt on all charges

May 22 2013 Published by under News

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.

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One year later, Caboodle Ranch still feigns ignorance

Mar 13 2013 Published by under Facts

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.

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Messages From Craig: A Response

Jan 28 2013 Published by under Facts

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

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ASPCA Spends $1.2 Million for Care of Caboodle Cats

Jun 22 2012 Published by under Facts,News

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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When Hoarding is Warehousing for Profit

Jun 21 2012 Published by under Facts,News

We realize that some hoarders are individuals who truly think they are doing a service despite the suffering they cause. However others engage in criminal activity by defrauding their victims to make a profit.

When Hoarding Is Warehousing For Profit

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Craig Grant Admits Abuse, Covers Tracks Too Late

May 02 2012 Published by under News

On May 2nd, 2012, the Caboodle Ranch blog posted melodramatic and self-pitying accounts of Craig Grant and Nanette Entriken’s visit to inspect the cats seized by the ASPCA. The visit was authorized by the court as part of the discovery procedure for their hearings.

The post made a number of incriminating and false statements, and was deleted from the blog minutes later — but not before alert animal lovers captured screenshots of the incriminating evidence, including Craig’s confession that he regularly used Clorox Wipes on cats’ faces.

The text of the now-deleted blog follows, with commentary and related documents. (The image of the original blog may be viewed here.)



VISIT TO SEE THE CATS

Nanette and I were allowed to see our cats yesterday (May 1st) at 7pm. Nanette drove, I haven’t driven since the raid on the ranch. I’ve been sick, “post traumatic stress disorder” and am on medication for that and depression. There are time I don’t want to live anymore.

Hoarding behavior and depression are frequently linked, and Craig has stated that cats had “become my happiness.” Without therapy, hoarders may lapse into depression and suicidal behavior, or quickly return to hoarding animals once their hoard has been removed. Animal hoarding has a 100% relapse rate when untreated.

In route, my stomach churns, I want to see them so bad. While Nanette went to see her cats, Rob (my son) and I went to view my cats. We were escorted by someone with an attitude of a prison guard. I was prohibited from any contact with the cats (meaning I was not allowed to touch them).

On the Caboodle Ranch Facebook page, a video clip of the visit was posted. On the basis of this account, it can be assumed that the person recording the visit was Rob Grant, Craig’s son. It is unknown at this time whether Rob was authorized to record and distribute this video to the public, and until we have confirmed that, we have opted to withhold that video.

Meatball was so happy to see me after two months! There was never a day that went by in the last 11 years when Meat-z went without attention. Toot was there, too scared to come to me, and Crackers. Rob said “Look! Tommy!” I can’t believe he’s still alive! He raised his body up the cage door to greet me. I wanted to cherish his body but the guard reminded me not to touch him. So painful, these bums ripped my babies from me.

Cats under the care of the ASPCA are receiving daily attention and veterinary care — significantly more than they received during their time at Caboodle Ranch. Comparing photos of Tommy at the time of the raid with this video reveals a dramatic improvement in his condition since ASPCA took over his care. All of the cats are receiving proper veterinary care now, and not just Craig’s favorites like Tommy, Snoop Dog, and Meatball.

In a dank corner, Snoopie (Snoop Dog) came to the door. He’s been with me at the ranch for 8 years. He looks bad, lost some weight, is drooling. He and Tommy both should have had teeth removed by now. But no one ever asked about any of the cats medications that Dr. Lewis prescribed.

I said “Look Rob, ‘Plummer'”, poor baby came to the ranch and had been shot in the face and had received 3000.00 worth of corrective surgery prior. Dr. Lewis examined him and would continue his care. He only has half a tongue and has to scoop the water into his mouth and tilt his head back to swallow. Rob had fostered him during his transition. He needs two lower fangs removed which cut into his top lip, but all the tag said on his cage was something about his eye, which is off to the side. So sad.

Craig does not disclose why Tommy, Snoop Dog, and Plummer’s pre-existing dental problems were not treated at the Ranch despite ample funds to do so.

Some cats with respiratory issues, but no more than a dozen had clogged noses. Yes, I used Clorox wipes always-keeping noses clean and my hand sanitized as I handled so many cats…

This is likely the passage that caused Caboodle Ranch to hastily delete their post. It is the first public admission by Craig Grant that he used toxic Clorox wipes on the noses of cats with respiratory infections. Clorox Wipes have the following warnings displayed prominently on every package:


Not for cleaning or sanitizing skin.

PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS: HAZARDS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS

CAUTION: Causes moderate eye irritation. Avoid contact with eyes or clothing. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling.

FIRST AID IF IN EYES: Hold eye open and rinse slowly and gently with water for 15-20 minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present, after the first 5 minutes, then continue rinsing eye. Call a poison control center for treatment advice.


This statement is an unambiguous admission by Craig Grant that he is guilty of cruelty to animals.

It was hot in there, my cats are used to enjoying air conditioned spaces on the ranch. It was three weeks before I could return to the ranch after the raid. I was afraid to see my place so deserted where so many played and enjoyed life.

I guess they have run every test known to man now on my herd and will drag me through the mud in court.

The tag at the right is from the veterinary records for Snoop Dog. Until the ASPCA’s intervention, many of the “herd” had not been tested for life-threatening illnesses such as FIV and FeLV.

I paid off a portion of the ranch. I leased the property from my name to Caboodle Ranch for the next 20 years so that if I died, my cats will always have a place on earth.

Craig told reporters that Caboodle Ranch had been paid off, and told several visitors the same lie. Here, he returns to the claim that Caboodle Ranch was leasing the property.

I don’t want the place if my cats don’t come back. I gave my life to these cats, I was so proud, so happy, and now stripped of everything.

Craig Grant was given ample opportunities to correct the problems at Caboodle Ranch. He refused. He was given more than three years of warnings. He ignored them. He was repeatedly offered help. He declined it. Ultimately, it was Craig Grant who forced the closure of Caboodle Ranch. It is Craig Grant who bears responsibility for the loss of his cats, and the loss of his pride — which apparently carry equal significance for him.

-Craig-


All day I dreaded the road trip to Jacksonville to go to the “undisclosed” warehouse where my babies were being held.

Dreaded it because as much as I want to see my precious cat family, I know I will have to walk away without them. The time finally came when my sister and I, and Craig, got on the road to make the 2 hour drive into Jacksonville . We get to the place and wait about a half hour until out lawyers arrived (so surreal) and be let in by prosecuting attorney Reeves and ASPCA officers.

No one is smiling, everyone is very official.

It would be very unusual for the people caring for a hoarder’s animals to greet that hoarder with smiles. It’s a credit to the ASPCA that they remained professional while dealing with a belligerent woman who helped enable the abuse and suffering of nearly 700 helpless cats.

They decide to let me see my babies first that are being held separately from the ranch cats in a trailer.

I can already feel the tears welling up in my eyes and I am trying so hard to “stay strong.” I am escorted with my lawyer and FIVE other people into a small air conditioned trailer and see my babies right away. I can’t help it, I break down. I had to lean over the counter to compose myself. Then I go cage to cage and see my babies beautiful faces. I call each one by name and I can see the recognition in their eyes as they see me and hear ‘mamas’ voice.

I cry harder at every cage I stop by. They won’t allow me to touch my cats, like I am a criminal.

My cats reach out to me, using their paws through the cage trying to touch me instead. I let them. I tell each one that I love them and that they will be home soon. They are in good condition and in large cages. But they are in cages, and not at home with me where they should be.

“They are in good condition and in large cages.” Caboodle Ranch supporters have repeatedly suggested that the ASPCA is mistreating the cats or withholding care. Here, we see that that’s not the case. In the video recording of Tommy, he appears to be in better condition than when he was at the Ranch.

Anonymous sources report that Craig’s cats are being held in cages with large indoor and outdoor runs of equal size, 24 square feet of space in each section. They can move indoors or outdoors at will, and have a variety of cozy boxes and baskets to curl up in.

Nanette’s cats are being held in an air-conditioned trailer. Each cat has its own 6′ tall vertical cage, roughly 10 square feet at the base. These multi-level cages have hammocks, shelves, and ledges for the cats to climb and relax on.

I took pictures of all of them and keep crying as I have to say goodbye to them. They don’t understand why they cant come home with me, and I certainly don’t understand any of this and what they have put me through for just moving to this town and trying to make a fresh start with my life.

Take note of Nanette’s claims of being persecuted.

Nanette is the property manager for Caboodle Ranch and partner to Craig Grant. She was in the process of moving onto the property, and had brought 39 of her own cats onto the Caboodle Ranch grounds. She is intimately involved with the operations of the Ranch, and she is directly involved in the scheme to conceal neglect and abuse on the Ranch. She is well aware of the charges against Caboodle Ranch, Craig Grant, and herself.

But in Nanette’s eyes, this is a Byzantine plot to persecute her “for just moving to this town and trying to make a fresh start,” and not because of the treatment of the cats. In other words, they are “out to get her,” although there is no apparent motive for doing so.

This behavior is a common element in many models of animal hoarding.

Tomorrow is the ranch hearing and mine. Our attorney’s are confident that the judge will be fair, honest and make the right decisions aand see through this insane circumstances that have taken place and let our cats come home and put an end to this nightmare. I try to have the same confience, but I look around my empty house for the past 9 weeks and wonder…

I can’t help but Wonder: Why didn’t PETA or the ASPCA or the Sherriff come to Craig and talk to him about doing more improvements on the ranch, getting more help.

From 2008 through 2012, Caboodle was offered help by various animal welfare agencies in order to resolve the problems at the Ranch. Craig and Nanette were urged again and again to hire staff and accept volunteer help. Those agencies advised immediate veterinary care for the sick cats, and to correct the dangerous conditions at the Ranch before taking in more animals.

Real, meaningful help was offered. And Craig and Nanette refused to accept it. To correct the problems at the Ranch, they would have to stop compulsively acquiring cats, and neither one was willing to take that necessary step.

Why didn’t they donate just a spec of what it has cost “them” to house the cats and pay staff etc and put that to good use at the ranch and the care of the cats.

One does not correct a hoarding situation by assisting the hoarder in obtaining more animals. As detailed in court documents, Craig and Nanette are not capable of providing care to the cats. No amount of improvements at the Ranch can change Craig Grant’s hoarding tendencies. He once stated that he would like 3,000 cats, and that there was no limit to the number of cats the Ranch could take in; providing financial support to Caboodle Ranch would only have worsened the situation. Treating, sheltering, and re-homing 3,000 cats is significantly more challenging than caring for 700.

Instead an agendad group comes in as if it were the law itself and raids the ranch, and instead of taking the cats in question they take hundreds and hundreds of healthy happy cats.

The ASPCA did not raid the Ranch. Law enforcement of Madison County raided the Ranch, on the authority of a warrant obtained through legal channels, on the basis of overwhelming evidence of cruelty and neglect.

Neither the ASPCA, nor PETA, nor any of the more than one dozen animal welfare groups assisting in the care of the animals has the authority to conduct a raid and seizure of animals. But when the Sheriff asked these groups to assist in the care of the animals, they gladly obliged, because protecting animals from cruelty and neglect is their mission.

Why? Well that’s a question no one seems to want or be able to answer.

That’s a question that’s been answered many, many times. The real question here is here is why Nanette is unwilling to acknowledge those answers.

-Nanette-

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Donors, cat owners to file class action lawsuit against Caboodle Ranch

Apr 02 2012 Published by under Press Releases

Donors, cat owners to file class action lawsuit against Caboodle Ranch
Suit accuses founder Craig Grant of consumer fraud — April 2, 2012

A group of donors and former owners of cats relinquished to a nonprofit cat sanctuary known as Caboodle Ranch are coming together to file a class action lawsuit against founder Craig Grant, who was arrested Feb. 27 in the wake of a multi-agency rescue of almost 700 cats from the property. It is one of the largest rescues of animals from a hoarding case in U.S. history.

Records from Caboodle Ranch, located in Lee, Fla., indicate that Grant embezzled and misappropriated donations intended to cover care of the cats for his own personal use. Numerous financial transactions recorded on Caboodle Ranch’s 501(c)3 non-profit account show such items as airline flights, trips to Las Vegas, tickets to Disney on Ice and Daytona 500, purchases at Toys R Us, hotels, online clothing orders, online magazine orders, and gifts. Grant also admitted in court records that he did not routinely record cash donations.

One couple involved in the lawsuit is Larry and Ann Bechler, who rescue and rehome stray and feral cats. In 2009, after reading news accounts that portrayed Caboodle Ranch as a cat utopia, the Bechlers brought two cats there to be rehomed. Larry recalled asking Grant how many cats he had. “Over 300, but I’d like 3000,” Grant told him.

When the Bechlers left the ranch that day, they had a gut feeling that something was wrong. They returned the next day to retrieve their cats, but one, Emma, was nowhere to be found. The Bechlers made several trips back to Caboodle Ranch to look for Emma but never located her. “What a lucrative business charging desperate, caring people to take homeless cats at $100 to $200 each,” Ann said. “When they die a month later, he just takes more.”

In addition to using donations for personal activities, financial records show that Grant also used donations to pay for his personal assets. All of Caboodle Ranch’s land, vehicles, and buildings are owned by Grant. The organization itself has no physical assets. Grant has stated in interviews that he as founder of Caboodle Ranch he got $1000 a month in salary. Any personal expenses he had were legally required to come from his salary, not ranch funds.

Grant was arrested Feb. 27 and charged with one count of felony animal cruelty, three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, and one count of scheming to defraud. Bond was set at $250,000, and he posted bail later that day. Grant pleaded not guilty to the charges during arraignment on April 2.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, at the request of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and Madison County Animal Control in northern Florida, has led the rescue of almost 700 cats from Caboodle Ranch beginning Feb. 27. Animal welfare organizations reported that many of the cats showed signs of severe neglect and were suffering from upper respiratory conditions, ringworm, intestinal parasites, fur loss, and eye infections among other medical issues. Responders also uncovered numerous deceased cats on the property.

Agencies assisting the ASPCA on scene include Atlanta Humane Society (Atlanta, Ga.); Bay Area Disaster Animal Response Team (Belleair Bluffs, Fla.); Cat Depot (Sarasota, Fla.); Florida State Animal Response Coalition (Bushnell, Fla.); Good Mews Animal Foundation (Marietta, Ga.); Humane Society of Broward County (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.); International Fund for Animal Welfare (Yarmouth Port, Mass.); McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center (Chattanooga, Tenn.); PetSmart Charities, Inc. (Phoenix, Ariz.); and RedRover (Sacramento, Calif.). Staff from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Maples Center for Forensic Medicine at University of Florida-Gainesville are also assisting with the operation.

As of Feb. 27, the ASPCA had spent an estimated $200,000 on this large-scale rescue, an amount that continues to grow daily.

The rescue comes in the wake of an investigation of Caboodle Ranch by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, whose undercover investigator worked as a volunteer at the ranch for five months. Video and photos taken by the investigator show cats suffering from upper-respiratory infections so severe that they gasped for air and struggled to breathe, drooled, and had bloody mucus clogging their noses. Cats had untreated ulcerated corneas that ruptured, causing them to go blind and in some cases die.

The organizers of this class action lawsuit have consulted with Attorney Lucas Taylor from Madison County, Fla., who has been involved in litigation against Grant for nearly two years. Anyone who has made monetary donations or donated goods to Caboodle Ranch and/or has rehomed to the care of Caboodle Ranch is eligible to join the lawsuit. Dana Strunk, one of the organizers, is proposing that proceeds from the case be donated to the animal welfare agencies involved in the rescue and care of the cats. For more information regarding the lawsuit, contact (888) 950-4919 or email classactionsuit.caboodleranch@gmail.com

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Caboodle Ranch: Heaven or Hell?

Mar 23 2012 Published by under News

Which version of Caboodle Ranch is the truth?
In November of 2003, a man named Craig Grant opened a sanctuary for cats: Caboodle Ranch. The sprawling 25-acre property was decorated with brightly-colored, cat-sized buildings, and many visitors were charmed by this adorable cat utopia.

But as the years progressed, rumors of hoarding, neglect, and illness darkened the image of Caboodle Ranch. Complaints were filed with local animal control. Pictures emerged showing sick cats mingling with healthy ones. News of cats being preyed upon by coyotes surfaced.

And people began to question whether Caboodle Ranch was the utopia it appeared to be.

In February of 2012, PeTA released an undercover video of the conditions at Caboodle Ranch. The video showed unspayed cats with litters of kittens, filthy rooms, uncleaned litter boxes, a refrigerator of medicine and food swarming with maggots, and most damning of all, image after image of cats ravaged by illness.

On the basis of evidence gathered, Sheriff Ben Stewart obtained a warrant for the arrest of Craig Grant and the seizure of Caboodle Ranch’s cats.

Fans of the Ranch were horrified at the news. Some angrily declared that PeTA and the Sheriff were conducting a vendetta against Craig Grant, and that the video was staged. Some acknowledged that the Ranch had problems, but maintained that the Ranch should have received assistance instead of being shut down. And some investigated the claims against the Ranch, and decided that they had been deceived by the brightly-colored fantasy world Craig Grant had created.

The purpose of this site is to lay out the evidence and arguments so that you, the reader, may form your own conclusions about Caboodle Ranch.

After you have reviewed the evidence, we invite you to share your opinions on Facebook.

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