Furby’s House has now survived a PETA investigation. This nightmare began on Friday, June 22 when head of Greenwood County Animal Control came knocking on our door. I was at work and Laura wasn’t at home. The officer left his business card and I called him back as soon as Laura returned and texted the information to me.
As it turned out, PETA had reported us to animal control claiming we had “injured and sick animals” on the premises. The officer was very nice on the phone and told us he would be on vacation the following week and asked me whether I would mind him making a home visit. I told him to come on over and I’d introduce my beautiful cats to him. I explained on the phone about Sealy’s head injury and Misty with her issue of not gaining weight. Pippa and Lucy have allergies and I explained their situation.
We had thought of turning some of the cats over to the Humane Society, and were encouraged this would be a good solution as the ladies in Greenwood have great success in placing cats. I’d been begging local rescues to take some of ours for a year and only Mia had been put up through a rescue.
Just to cover us, I contacted Greenwood Veterinary Hospital where Mike Waldon has been treating Sealy since March 1. He was enraged, to say the least. He furnished me with a letter and also a complete printout of Sealys medical records. I didn’t know it at the time, but the animal control officer I’d spoken with had already talked to the vet and been told we were very diligent in Sealy’s care.
We thought everything was going well until Wednesday morning when another Greenwood County Animal Control officer showed up at the door without warning. He came in and refused to touch any of the cats. He went over to Misty and asked what was wrong with her legs (she’s declawed and her legs are thin.) Then he looked at the ceiling where we haven’t been able to completely clean away the smoke damage from a fire several months ago. THEN he looked at the floor and thought dirt that the mop had pushed into the corner was cat feces. Keep in mind there were no poop accidents anywhere on the floor. My room, on the other hand, looked like it belonged to a teenager with books and magazines thrown all over the floor. I never said I was NEAT!
The next thing we knew the police showed up. Laura was already in a panic thinking we were going to jail. The substitute animal control officer wanted to get social services involved to kick us out of our home because of the smoke on the ceiling. After explaining to Laura that was just procedure, I went out and talked to the sheriff and told him we had no place to go.
It was a hard decision, but we decided to voluntarily surrender nine of our babies. A friend had told me a few weeks ago to put up any for adoption that we felt stood a good chance of finding a home. I regret we let Misty go, but I feel the situation with PETA isn’t over. Listed below are the articles I did that I believe caused this (to follow – sorry). My personal opinion is if PETA could damage my reputation as a reporter, then it would challenge the validity of my writing against them.
I really don’t understand why I’m even a threat to PETA with my writing. I’m not an original story writer when writing about their organization. I’m a story weaver. Meaning I collect several different references and construct a story around them. In most cases I find I can put together a more complete picture when I report in this manner. I’m doing a report in much the same manner we did research projects back in school. Instead of researching several books at a library, I do it online.
I had to call into work Wednesday and explain to my boss that if we didn’t get a few areas that aren’t even accessible to the cats cleaned by Monday, we’d be facing criminal charges for animal cruelty and neglect, plus we’d be evicted from our home. A spot check was to take place on Friday, June 29, with the final decision being made on Monday when the head officer returned from vacation.
The substitute officer really didn’t know what to do with us about the situation. He had arrived under the premises the cats were in horrible condition and found all to be healthy. He spoke to personnel at the Greenwood County Humane Society and I overheard him telling whoever was on the phone that the cats looked healthy.
I spoke with the substitute animal control officer on June 28 to set up a time for his visit. It was then he asked me if I still had “my big brown dog.” Oh boy, was that EVER the wrong thing to ask me. Now I was worried Dreyfuss was in trouble with the dog police.
We passed the spot check with no problem. I explained how Dreyfuss is a retired seizure service dog and can predict when someone is about to pass out. The officer’s entire attitude changed about my dog when he learned that. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dreyfuss, he’s a highly trained 12 year old boxer mix with bad arthritis and cancer. He won’t be around much longer, but I want to make the decision to put him down when he tells me he’s tired of living.
Furby even did his part by rolling all over the officer’s feet! Furby’s such a clown.
The officer even called me back and asked me to go by the shelter and give some background information on each cat. He was much nicer on Friday and I soon found out why. When PETA gets involved, abuse or neglect usually is suspected. The authorities came out to our house under the assumption they’d find something horribly wrong. The Humane Society of Greenwood backed us up in stating there was no abuse or neglect. Everyone who knows us know we would do without food before we’d let our cats suffer.
Laura was still in bad shape over the weekend. She threw up everything she tried to eat and couldn’t sleep. We had an earthquake on Saturday (2.5 or so on the scale), then on Sunday evening, with the outside temperature with the heat index at 110 F., we lost power for seven hours. Furby was the first to suffer. He and Sealy were taken outside in a cage as soon as Furby started panting. It soon reached 120 degrees inside our mobile home. Next came our feral Renny, followed by Mandy and Brinkley. We left Dreyfuss out back, even once it started raining, as he has enough trouble breathing on a good day. The rain helped cool him off.
Monday finally came and inspection time was near. Then the electricity went out again. We were set to have a cool day where the temperature wouldn’t top 103F. It stayed out for an hour, but was back on before the head animal control officer arrived.
He explained that he had gotten clearance to wait until after his vacation to come out and see the cats, but PETA wouldn’t hear of it. They harassed him on his vacation and also called his boss, stating I could “do anything to the cats before he came out.” PETA had also wanted to send out a veterinarian to check the cats. Which would have been fine with me. We have nothing to hide and had no plan on hiding the cats as many do before officials arrive.
I don’t think the head officer was very happy to learn we’d been threatened with jail and told the house was a shambles. He said we lived in a Taj Mahal compared to some places he’d been. On Monday, he saw what I wish everyone could see. A house full of cats being cats. Gizzy was sitting on a bookcase and he thought she was a statue! It was so funny when she moved. And Brinkley showed he had good litter box habits by taking a poop in his litter box, right in front of everyone. I held up all 20 pounds of cat for the officer to see!
Misty and Tom are gone, along with Annabelle, Lucy, Pippa, Garfield, Miss Kitty, Cocoa and Stitch. Misty had a litter box problem due possibly to her being declawed. And Pippa and Lucy have their allergies. I told the Greenwood Humane Society ladies good luck with that situation because it comes back a week after any kind of treatment.
The main reason we made the decision to give up those cats is I don’t believe the PETA situation is over. I think they will look for anything to report on me about. Animal Control may come knocking on my door unannounced any time of the day of night if PETA pushes it. I can fight them, but Laura isn’t able to.
Thanks to the interference of PETA, we are no longer able to foster or rescue any more cats. Laura is too traumatized by this whole situation. We plan on keeping the dozen cats we have on the premises and spoiling them rotten. Sealy is doing great and living cage free as a normal cat. He still has a hole in his head, but don’t tell Sealy he’s still on the injured list. He doesn’t seem to notice his wound.
We’ve been criticized about letting a few of our cats go. I feel we made the best decision and each cat will get a family of it’s own to love it. I also told the shelter we’d be glad to take any back who didn’t get rescued. So none of them have to die.
I hate we were under so much pressure at the time of the first inspection. If we’d have been allowed to wait on the more experienced officer, a lot of this would have been avoided. PETA had also asked to be in charge of the case instead of going through the proper channels, meaning Greenwood County Animal Control would first access the situation. PETA had already been informed I had nothing against a home visit, even though I wasn’t required by law to allow animal control in my house without a warrant.
We have nothing to hide. On the day we surrendered nine, all of the cats were a nervous wreck. They knew they were in the company of someone who didn’t understand them. The final inspection on July 2, they were all out laying around and playing.
I did lose a few rescue friends on Facebook. I understand this, as it’s dangerous to associate yourself with someone being investigated by PETA. I’m so glad we proved what I’ve already stated over and over. We have a house full of spoiled cats.
I only have one major complaint. Laura cleaned my bedroom!!! She threw my books and magazines away and now I can’t find anything! I don’t know what went in the trash and what’s in the closet because I’m afraid to open the closet door. Payback’s hell!
I could just picture PETA reporting me over and over for Misty’s emaciated condition and Pippa and Lucy with their allergies. I feel Cocoa will find a good home with someone who can’t risk being bitten or scratched(he’s declawed and toothless). Annabelle may be deaf, but she’s a great cat. As are all my cats.
We hated doing this, but thanks to PETA hounding animal control on a daily basis, we were facing eviction on Friday and jail on Monday because of a personal vendetta. PETA is probably like everyone else and seen my Facebook photos of my cats. Everyone who knows me knows Sealy has a serious injury, Misty is skinny and Pippa and Lucy have allergies. So on what grounds was I reported other than for my stories against them?
If this had just been one call made to report what PETA thought may be a problem, I could understand. These calls would have been considered harassment if they had been made to me as a private citizen. Because they were made by PETA to animal control, they’re not illegal. It appears to me PETA was undermining the good sense of our animal control employees, as well as making a pest of themselves. All PETA had to say after the investigation was made is they’re glad the cats were all right. I believe they knew the cats were all right before they did the investigation. What’s worse is their calls to animal control may continue and we may be investigated at each call. Which is fine with us, except for the inconvenience with my work schedule and the fact the officers will have to come out in what’s likely to be triple digit temperatures this summer. I wonder if PETA can eventually be told to just quit calling about us?
PETA would have LOVED to bring us down after all I’ve written against them. Remember, my articles are mostly based on news articles written by local newspapers around the country concerning how many deaths PETA is responsible for, which I later wove together into a story for the readers at pictures-of-cats.org.
Some say an organization as large as PETA wouldn’t be interested in such a small rescue as ours. If not PETA, then someone I’ve angered over the years. But the decision to continuously call animal control was made by PETA, so I do hold them responsible.
Did I do the right thing by allowing my cats to go to rescues for their own homes? How do you feel about the way PETA handled the situation? Do you think my writing is why I was investigated?And one final question. How many of you have now or have cared for cats you feel PETA would have removed from your home due to an illness or injury? I’m following the story of an injured cat named Snow in much the same way people follow our Sealy. Is PETA going to attack that rescue next? It really makes me wonder.
I now definitely believe no good deed goes unpunished. In a way, I’m glad all of this took place. There are too many people claiming to run rescues who are really hoarders or abusers. It’s been determined our rescue is neither. I just think it was a very sorry way for PETA to handle the situation.
Update 8th July 2012: Vet Bills. Marley is listed on the bill and the vet saw the kittens at no charge. Click on these to see large readable images.