Update On 700 Cats Seized
by Elisa Black-Taylor
Humane Society Photo
This is an update on the 700 cats seized from Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary in Alachua County, Florida back in June of 2011.
PLEASE READ THIS ARTICLE. IT HAS A HAPPY ENDING FOR THE RESCUED CATS!
I originally reported on this case, the largest in U.S. history and one of the three largest EVER. Please read this article first as it will inform you of the case so far.
Steve and Penny Lefkowitz, owners of Haven Acres, were arrested Monday, August 15, 2011 and charged with 47 counts of animal abuse. These are considered third degree felony charges in the state of Florida and can carry a maximum of 5 years jail time and a $10,000 fine per offense. Please bookmark this reference as it lists a state by state chart. http://www.pet-abuse.com/pages/cruelty_laws.php
Now for some good news. I like it when something good can come out of something as horrible as what these animals went through. I could cry as I write about what is being done for the remaining 600 seized cats who need homes.
An adopt-a-thon is set for Aug. 26-28 and will be held at the Alachua County Humane Society, 4205 NW 6th St., which is near the warehouse where the cats are now being cared for.
Dave Flagler, Animal Services director, would like for everyone to spread the word about this event. They hope at least 300 of the cats will be adopted. Wouldn't it be great if all of them can find new homes!
An adoption fee has not yet been determined and applicants will be carefully screened as these poor cats have gone through too much to risk putting them into another bad situation. Mr. Flagler wants those who adopt to be financially prepared to take on the responsibility of a cat. Some of these cats have had tumors removed and dentistry problems corrected and more specialized care may be required on their road to recovery.
The cats were prepared last week during a mass spay/neuter program called Operation Cat Nip. Hundreds of cats were shuttled to the University of Florida Veterinary College where surgery was preformed by at least 25 UF students along with veterinary residents from the college. Also helping were veterinary residents from the University of California-Davis. This is one of the leading colleges in the country as far as advanced veterinary treatment and research is concerned.
There's a wonderful article on the work these two colleges did available here.
It's an awesome sight seeing all the cats strapped down to tables waiting for their surgery. These cats were also treated and examined and tested so they are as healthy as possible for the adoption event.
I'll be honest with you. It makes me physically ill to see the condition these cats were in. I had to stop writing several times just to take a deep breath and get my bearings. It's a miracle only 60 or so had to be euthanized. If not for the dedication of everyone involved, well, I don't even want to think about it.
I hope everyone here will spread the word of this mass adoption event. I had hoped to write more, but this one has been physically and psychologically draining. Hopefully all of the cats will find good, loving homes to help them get over the trauma of the life they've had so far by people who were supposed to care for them.
Please feel free to leave comments. I really have to get away from this story now. The photos of the cats really did me in. The one with the Lefkowitz couple was courtesy of the Humane Society. I'm getting sick of looking at them also.