Widening The Caboodle Debate
Caveat: I am against Caboodle Ranch because a judge closed it down. I am also against the routine killing at shelters and the lack of transparency at shelters. I am comparing accepted cat shelters with an unacceptable one.
A lot of people feel passionately about Caboodle Ranch (CR), which is good. There are arguments on both sides: the supporters and those against CR. There is only one side to be on now (August 5th 2012): Against CR. This is because it has been closed down by court order for a failure to provide proper welfare for its cats and for alleged fraud by the owner. A court hears all the evidence. We can take it is as a near certainty that Craig Grant messed around. OK, he may appeal but with the kind evidence available I’d be surprised if he did.
We, the public, don’t have the opportunity to review evidence unless we are in the court or have access to all of it. We tend to hear and read (sometimes) careless Facebook comments etc. and get our information that way. I don’t think this is a sensible way to proceed. You get lots of heat but not much light.
It is great to see passion and anger about a subject. However, personally, I’d like to see these emotions directed a little more precisely and at the bigger and more entrenched problems.
Internet media giants, such as Facebook, tend to feed bias. Facebook encourages people’s tendency to deal with important issues at a purely emotional level. The story, whatever it is, becomes a medium to express emotions that are caused by other events. For example, a person may be angry at themselves for handing over their cats to CR, then losing them. That anger is then focused against others who might innocently support CR.
Emotions are fine but when we analyze the CR story you have to think more widely. CR is pretty much done and dusted. Once a court makes an order all the expressed passion can only be incidental commentary.
The Caboodle Story is a great platform and launch pad to discuss cat and animal rescue generally in the USA from a critical standpoint.
CR was bad. Is cat rescue generally much better? The answer is going to be very hard to find. Most animal rescue organizations conveniently do not publish full statistics about the health of their cats. Statistics such as the percentage of cats killed to those surrendered (often around 70%), the conditions under which the cats live before being adopted or more usually killed. How are they killed? Some places still use gas chambers – killing boxes for cats. Gas chambers cause an awful lot of anguish during the dying process. How many cats at shelters become infected (at the shelter) with feline panleukopenia, FIP, FeLV, ringworm, FLUTD or an upper respiratory infection (URIs – feline herpes virus)? We don’t have the statistics.
Nathan Winograd in his excellent book Redemption (published 2007) gives us many insights into animal rescue in the USA. Concerning gas chambers, at page 101 he writes:
“In some shelters, they put animals in a gas chamber and turn on the gas until they are dead, a barbaric and inhumane practice.” In a note he says that gas chambers take time to kill. Animals experience distress and anxiety. They survive sometimes..
The people who are so vociferous in their hatred of CR, please tell me if the deliberate killing of a cat in a gas chamber is worse than being negligent in caring for a cat in shelter and that cat dying from his/her illness. They are different situations which makes it hard to compare but I don’t see a big difference.
As to disease and illness at cat shelters Nathan says:
“If an employee does not scrub cat cages, leading to spread of upper respiratory infection or panleukopenia (feline distemper), a highly contagious and deadly disease for cats, large numbers will be needlessly killed. These problems plague shelters nationwide….”
Can someone tell me the percentage of cats at Caboodle Ranch who contracted a disease at the ranch? Can someone tell me the percentage of cats that died through neglect at the ranch? I don’t see published data on these topics, which surprises me. Can ASPCA provide the figures or the court? I know that it is claimed that a significant number of cats were ill etc. and some were dead or buried. Was the degree of illness worse than occurs at a well run animal rescue center that receives no publicity at all and runs with the approval of the community and the authorities?
Is the difference between longstanding, accepted animal shelters and Caboodle Ranch the experience of the operator? Ultimately Craig Grant was rather crude in the way he went about things. He was almost certain to be exposed. Longstanding shelters even have a way to justify the mass killing. The shelter community is a well oiled killing machine that leads to about 4 million cat killings annually (no one knows the exact figure).
Let the people with a commitment to cat welfare tackle that problem head on with passion.
Note: Shelters vary in quality and in respect of the percentage of cats euthanised.
Associated: Animal Shelter Conspiracy.
Michael, I am not directing my questions SPECIFICALLy to you, but generally to anyone who has an opinion or a thought on the CR case; but mostly to the people who claim they have been there to see it (which I doubt many of them have) and to everyone on all the FaceBook hate pages of not only Caboodle Ranch, but all the people on every other FaceBook hate page aimed at any other person accused of animal abuse where a rescue, sanctuary was involved. Michael, I want people to do something that very few people are willing to do these days – think and then ask questions. I despise and abhor people who just have a knee-jerk reaction to a bunch of stupid pictures, the provenance of which cannot be proven. Somebody, for the love of all you claim to hold holy tell me WHY the raidrs stole Craig’s blood pressure medication, and why no one ever though to have him evaluated for Alzheimer’s Disease since everybody is sooo into going on and endlessly on about how blasted old he is? When they do the latter without doing the former, it proves they are just in it for how much Hate they can spew. Which, weakens their case (at least in the minds of people who know what goes on and who actually have brains).
I am having a great deal of difficulty understanding how and why PeTA chose to send in a spy with a video camera instead of actually offer some help to this man and his cats. Or, I would, if I didn’t know that PeTA routinely and inhumanely kills pet animals entrusted to them by the general public. There is NEVER any reason to send a SWAT team in to abuse cats. There is NEVER any reason to send in a SWAT team if you are alledging that the owner has NO help and you are perfectly aware that there is only one person on the property. How many of these jackbooted thugs trampled and stomped cats to death? How many of them simply shot the cats for fun? How are you SURE that never happened? If you are so CONCERNED about the blasted cats, why are you not ASKING SOME VERY POINTED QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR TREATMENT AFTER THE RAID?
Not sure who you are addressing your comment to but if it is me, I have several articles on this subject, one of which indirectly addresses the mess of Caboodle. If I am not sure about the cats’ treatment by PETA I can’t comment on it.
I am not a supporter of CR and I am not against CR. I am however against raids like this. This is just another ploy for PETA to use Craig in their scheming ways to make more money by destroying people and animals and that is wrong.
Craig Grant was not intentionally harming any animal. As with ANY and ALL rescues same as opening a day care, you must have EDUCATION!!! No one including PETA needs to deal with any animal or person without education. That is why there are so many raids going on. The rescues who do well and can prove it have not been educated in law, those that don’t do well have not been educated in animal care. It takes more than love for animals to run a rescue. PETA has millions of dollars on their side to say a Malamutes poop is made of pure gold and the world will believe them, why? Because the majority of the world is so naive that they believe one sided stories. Some people believe PETA is as awesome as God.
There is given proof that Craig was trying but had come to point in life he where was afraid of moving forth with vetting, etc. That is not criminal intent, that is fear of not being able to have enough funds to treat all the cats, maybe he felt $80,000 was not enough of a cushion to spend, maybe $80,000 to him was like $25 to us. That is lack of judgement on his part, not a criminal act.
To me the criminal charges should be brought upon PETA and ASPCA for INTENTIONALLY destroying 13 cats, Craig Grant and the Caboodle Ranch. In criminal law, it has to be proven INTENT. Craig had none but PETA and ASPCA has had intent since day one! Instead of destroying this man, they should had helped him. File suit to have him hire more people, hire a better book keeper, hire more than one vet, etc. Because CR is down, look how many cats have died at the hands of PETA and those that are needing placement after the raid (not CR cats). Now those of you that are CR haters are going to say, look at how many cats have died in CR care. You cannot at any point count that because any cat that is outside has a shorter lifespan and you can ask any vet about that and they will agree with me. That includes barn cats and with him living on acres of land that is how I categorize them “barn cats”, they are outside but have shelter and a caretaker, just like barn cats in the country. I do not know of the law in Florida, but I also doubt there are laws on the books that all “barn cats” under the care of a human or a rescue must have a FVRCP (feline vaccination), must be tested for feline infectious diseases. Many laws state that have to provide basic health care, and Craig was providing BASIC health care, a call to a vet is BASIC. Vaccinations and tests are NOT basic health care but are elective health care, just as spays/neuters and dentals.
This is happening all over the USA and instead of seizing and killing animals why don’t these mega buck rescues help these smaller mom & pop rescues to better what they have going on. I have seen raids after raids after raids and 1 out of 20 I have seen have a reason to be seized, all the others either needed education, extra help or financial help.
I blame the holier than though rescues for the multitudes of animals deaths not the rescues that are at least trying to do something!
I pray that CR will be able to reopen maybe more with an adoption plan in place so he can continue to take in cats and help more families. Craig is on the right track, just needs more help to improve. No rescue is 100% perfect, but it is better to have those that chose no kill methods with the intent to improve and do better things than those that would rater kill and do nothing more.
Craig Grant you are in my thoughts and prayers.
This animal raid business is a direct conduit to fascism.
Dana: Just WHO is obtaining “official” court transcripts? PeTA? In my experience, court transcripts cost 10 cents a page. Where did all that money come from? “Tom” is right, but it goes further than that. In cases like this one, the strategy is always to keep the owner from having a fair trial. How many of you people reading this right now have $40 or 50 thousand dollars just sitting around collecting dust, waiting to be used for legal defense. You, Dana, may have had money enough to get trial transcripts, but Craig did not. No one just automatically gets a transcript of their own trial and without a transcript of your own trial, you cannot do anything more, such as file an appeal. What makes matters worse is most lawyers have no idea how to defend an animal hoarding or multiple animal “cruelty” charge; BUT, the HSUS TEACHES THE DISTRICT ATTORNEYS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AND ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS SPECIFICALLY HOW TO PROSECUTE SUCH A sham trial, from judge shopping to how to keep evidence out. Therefore, there is no such thing as a “fair” trial in a case like Caboodle Ranch because ONLY the prosecuting side has the money and the knowledge for prosecution. There is no government or quazi-government agency that specifically teaches animal raid victims how to defend themselves and their animals. Especially when the “authorities” show up with a SWAT team. And, BTW, I still want to know why in the World they took Craigs blood pressure medicine, AND I want to know why no one else is interested in asking, much less answering, that question. The very next thing you are going to hear about these animal raid charges, since more than half of them are made on the elderly, is that there are DRUGS (gasp) involved! I will bet you the balance of my mortgage that it would be MONTHS, if ever, before they actually say those DRUGS! were prescription meds. So, you can see just how ridiculous this animal raid business has gotten and how it got that way. You add all of the people on the internet who are screaming about animal abuse and putting up Hate pages on Facebook, and you can clearly see why these raids continue, because such childish behavior EMBOLDENS those who plan raids on innocent victims.
The strategy of the attack on the Caboodle Ranch was to prevent legal due process from occurring. They already took the property that would have been the subject of that legal due process.
In a big way no actual court case has been presented. The raid and mass confiscation, the seizure bond, and moving the cats to far less humane conditions, have made due process of the law impossible. With no due process there is no trial, just a mockery of a trial.
What makes you, Michael, or anyone else think that a court hears “all the evidence”? I guess you know nothing about how law is practiced in the United States because for decades lawyers and D.A.s have been asking judges to exclude this evidence or that evidence, and the judges comply. I have attended trials, especially an animal raid/cruelty trial, and I am well aware of what evidence and how much evidence can be and is excluded from trial. Among other things. Other things that are routinely excluded from trials are witnesses who could actually do some good for the defendant.
Based on what has been written on the CR case “info” FB page, there was a lot of bias against the owner from the start. Not only that, but almost half of the people posting on that Kindergarten-style Hate page CLAIM TO HAVE ATTENDED the trial when it is obvious that few, if any, of them could have done so.
Nice to know you have such faith in the flawlessness, infallibility and non-corruptness of our present legal system. You just better hope like crazy that you never have to go before a judge in a case where you don’t have the money to pay for the outcome you desire.
Hi, thanks for the comment. But whatever happens in court has to be the final arbiter on the evidence, right or wrong. And we have to accept that. The argument has to stop somewhere. That is the point I am making. I don’t necessarily believe that courts are always right. Far from it. I am just saying amongst all the argument the court’s decision is the final one and has to be accepted. I accept it bar an appeal.
I haven’t read through the comments after reading your article but this point might have already been made. You mention people making opinions based off comments on the internet. This case is different because we spent the time and money to obtain official court transcripts. We’ve offered the information to anyone and everyone who will read. However, many are lazy and refuse to and prefer to continue to believe the lies that come out of CR’s mouth. But CR has never once provided evidence for any of their claims. Just their own personal photos and videos.
Thanks for the comment Dana. I agree that in the end people knew clearly what had happened at CR because of court proceedings. For a long time there was argument as I described and that carries on in some respects.
This comment is from Amanda Katz
Michael – You say shelters are not transparent in their statistics. Some shelters are not. But the largest and most important shelters in their communities are. My local open admissions shelter is very transparent. And long with most major shelters in the country, it sends its data through a system called Pet Point, which compiles statistics nationally. You can find them here –
This includes euthanasia rates, and how they compare to previous years. In most cases, they have gone down. Euthanasia rates are too high, but they are coming down slowly but surely. The reasons for shelter euthanasia rates are complex, and despite what you read from Winograd, it cannot simply end because we wish it to end. It takes an entire community working together.
My open admissions shelter does everything that Winograd points to in his no-kill plan, yet it has not reached no kill. Why? Because too many animals, especially cats and kittens come streaming in. As I mentioned in another post, the county funded shelter is only concerned with dogs. The open admissions shelter, which is funded entirely by donations, is left to deal with the cat overpopulation issue. They get dozens of cats and kittens dropped off EVERY DAY during spring and summer months. There simply are not homes for all of them.
That said, shelter euthanasia rates are steadily falling, and they are WAY down since the 1970s when shelters routinely killed 30 million to 40 million dogs and cats a year. It’s now 1/10 of that amount. It’s still too high, but the trend is in the right direction.
Further, the National Federation of Humane Societies has set a goal for itself of not euthanizing any healthy adoptable animals by the year 2020. It’s an ambitious goal, but it is attainable if the entire community works together on things like funding TNR programs and holding mass adoption events. Jacksonville, Florida, is a great example of a community that does just that.
Britain does not have the same shelter euthanasia problems as the United States, but it is too easy to blame the shelter managers. Winograd is wrong when he does that, he is wrong to attack every other animal welfare group in the country, and he is especially wrong to claim there is no such thing as pet overpopulation. That’s just irresponsible.
Your fixation on the gas chamber is also misplaced. Some small rural shelters still use it, but it is not accepted by ANY of the national humane organizations, which have all worked with small shelters to phase it out or provide more humane methods. It is the extreme minority of shelters that still use it.
I urge you to look beyond Winograd when learning about shelter issues in the United States, and start looking at resources of the major humane organizations which work to support shelter management and staff every day. Two good places to start would be ASPCA Pro (http://www.aspcapro.org) and HSUS Animal Sheltering (http://www.animalsheltering.org).
Thanks for a great comment, which is extremely useful to me. I’ll investigate this over the next few days.
Amanda, I have just visited the PetPoint site and noticed that they have data from 1047 animal welfare organization. This represents a part of the total (are there 5,000 shelters in the USA?) and no information about health at shelters, about the percentage of cats with diseases and the management of diseases. That is important information.
I am not fixated about gas chambers. I just want information and thanks for providing it. I appreciate you giving up time to do that.
Shelter data is woefully scarce.
One reason for that is that simply, a comprehensive study has not yet been completed.
Another is that overburdened, understaffed shelters don’t always take the time to document key aspects of their operations.
A third reason is that Nathan Winograd and his followers have created an environment of hate and hostility towards shelters and shelter directors, and many shelters are unwilling to be transparent because *any* information they disclose will likely be used as a weapon against them.
That same hatred also creates an environment where shelters are driven to “fudge the numbers” in order to claim no-kill status. There is little verification or auditing of shelter statistics.
Thanks John. This is another symptom of the poor state of affairs at shelters. Many are first class, I am sure but we don’t know what is going in detail and from reliable information.
It is an interesting thought process that prevents shelters being completely transparent. They appear to be competing. They fudge numbers for their own benefit – the benefit of people, when they are in the business of trying to benefit animals.
As you widen the debate. The central issue to reducing killing of adoptable cats and all animals is spay and neuter programs, and feral freedom programs. Charitable organizations need to work in partner with all animal control departments and animal rescue organizations to implement low cost spay and neuter programs (which the charitites fund such as PetSmart, Best Friends Society) and feral freedom for cats. It is working in Duval County, Florida and has become a model for the no-kill programs nation wide for those willing to try. We have to stop the myth that “killing feral cats will solve the problem”. It does not.
First Coast No More Homeless Pets works with Jacksonville’s animal control to implement these programs, and here are the statistics to prove that its working. I am trying to make the whole State of Florida No-Kill by making these programs state wide via legislation. http://www.fcnmhp.org/pdf/2010-2011%20FCNMHP%20Annual%20Report_Small%20File.pdf
Great to read this. Could the shelters do more in the way of education etc.? Taking proactive measures. Are there are any free classes out there, run by a group of cat rescue organisations, on how to look after a cat responsibly? Education is the key at root but who is educating the people who irresponsibly feed the unwanted cat market? I may be dreaming but I would like to see some resources directed at preventing the production of unwanted cats rather than dealing with the consequences, which is obviously far less successful in the long term.
Yes. There are many classes that are offered and are free on how to run sanctuarys and shelters. But there are no requirements that you do so in the State of Florida. Some states regulate non-profit rescue organizations, and we are trying to implement that in the State of Florida with a state representative we are working with.
The HSUS funded AnimalSheltering.org and its publication, “Animal Sheltering”, are indispensable resources for shelter and rescue professionals, and for anyone considering starting a professional animal rescue or sanctuary.
Additionally, many people are unaware that the HSUS provides free phone, email, webinar, and off-site evaluations for sheltering professionals.
Ultimately, the problems of pet overpopulation are not going to be solved by rescue groups, though. Public education, community support, legislation, and intelligent policies by local governments to stem the tide of unwanted puppies and kittens flooding our shelters.
I have the information that you are seeking. The exhibits from the custody trial. I have no way to attach to this comment, but I can e-mail them to you or see if I can get them posted on a web site for your review. The statistics are as follows:
16% of the CR cats tested positive for FIV – National Ave: 2.3%*
10% were FeLV positive – National Average 2.5%
39% of the cats had Upper Respiratory Infections – No average stat given
4.8% of the cats had ringworm – no average state given.
The National Average Statistics came from a 2004 study which had 18,000 cats involved in the study which was the best they could find to compare, which makes CR cats FIV and FeLV rate extremely high since their number was much lower.
Also the guidelines for a sanctuary with 653 cats would require 18.7 people per day 8 hours a day 7 days a week to care for all of CR cats. See page 18 of the document.
Michael – The ASPCA can provide the numbers/percentages of illnesses that you are requesting. They may not provide the information until after the court proceedings have concluded, however. Please contact them as they are the experts on this subject. Some of the information was released in the earlier court proceedings and can be found at http://caboodleranch.net/ , along with other court documents.
The difference between long-standing successful shelters and CR? Education and training are absolutely required for a well run shelter. I am not trying to cause an argument here, but Grant had no experience or training. He had no staff, only sporadic (untrained) volunteers. There was no business plan, no fundraising plan, no medical record system, no SOPs – all critical parts of any well run shelter. He declined offers of assistance and refused to follow the advice of people and organizations that had the expertise that CR so desperately needed.
For the benefit of your readers, please do not rely on Winograd as the sole source of your information on shelters in the US. He does not portray the complete picture correctly. He writes to advance himself and his own agenda. Please look at the research and data from many other sources if you would like to get accurate information. Many of our shelters (and yes, even cities) are well on the way to becoming no-kill without the help of Mr. Winograd’s theories. I am very proud to live in one of them.
Thanks for your comment. Very useful and appreciated. I’ll contact ASPCA and see if I can get accurate information about disease at shelters and how many kill their cats in gas chambers. I know they are being phased out or I believe they are but it would nice to know more on this.
As the judge indicated in his ruling against Caboodle Ranch, the problem was not merely Craig Grant’s inexperience — it was his *unwillingness* to provide basic care for the animals that rendered him unfit to care for animals.
Craig Grant had the resources to do a far better job than they did. At the end of 2010, the Ranch was sitting on more than $80,000 in unused donations.
Yet cats died horrible deaths from treatable and preventable illnesses due to Craig’s unwillingness to take them to the vet. In his words: “If I had to take every cat in, financially, it wouldn’t work.”
Craig Grant knew that the use of Clorox Wipes on a cat’s sensitive nose and eyes was harmful to cats. He had been told by veterinarians, inspectors, and many, MANY volunteers. It’s right on the label of the canister in bold print for crying out loud.
Yet he continued to abuse cats this way out of sheer arrogance: an unwillingness to learn and listen.
Craig was advised by his own veterinarian to stop taking in cats. He was advised by at least three inspectors, the animal control officer for Madison County and the judge in the 2009 Order to Show Care.
Yet he continued to collect and *actively seek out* cats to hoard, even though the cats already in his possession were suffering horribly. He was unwilling to put the welfare of the cats ahead of his emotional dependency on hoarding them.
That’s the common element in everything that went wrong at Caboodle Ranch: unwillingness. Unwilling to learn. Unwilling to listen. Unwilling to do what was needed for the good of the cats. Unwilling to stop.
Any facility, be it shelter, rescue, or sanctuary, should be held accountable for its treatment of the animals in its care.
Nobody is asking for perfection, but the *willingness* to do what’s necessary for the good of the animals should be paramount.
John, could you tell me if there are regulations governing the opening of a cat rescue center in Florida? Or other states. It seems to me that there should be a registration system and some oversight and monitoring by the local authorities. It appears Craig Grant just bought some land and started collecting cats. If that is correct the local authorities are part of the neglect. Or am I being too harsh?
Unfortunately, that’s a correct assessment.
There were few laws regulating large-scale animal facilities in Madison County. As a result of the escalating problems and complaints, the Board of County Commissioners passed the EAH (Excess Animal Habitat) Ordinance, which established minimal standards for facilities over 30 animals. The text of the ordinance can be found at http://caboodleranch.net/Documents/EAH_Ordinance.pdf
Caboodle Ranch failed 38 of the criteria on their first EAH inspection. On the second inspection, 18 serious violations still remained. The Ranch was raided soon after, and Caboodle Ranch did not re-apply for an EAH permit.
Sadly, many states have virtually no licensing or regulation of sanctuaries, rescues, and shelters. In states were regulation exists, inspection and enforcement is often lax; inspectors are understaffed and underfunded, and preventing abuse is a low priority.
Widespread animal abuse is the inevitable consequence.
I’m a strong proponent of regulation and consistent inspections for all animal care facilities, but that would require a massive increase in funding that few politicians are willing to invest.
Animals don’t vote, and regulation is opposed by animal use/abuse industries with deep pockets and a vested interest in fighting regulation.
So, when a law mandating proper care of animals is proposed, the puppy mills and backyard breeders howl their protests because they will be required to provide food, water, exercise, and veterinary care to their “inventory”.
And so animal care facilities remain virtually unregulated in many parts of the U.S.
Absolutely correct. Business maintains the unacceptable (for many) status quo. Animals are low priority.
Documentation and statistics from the ASPCA were entered into evidence in the custody hearing against Caboodle Ranch without objection from the Ranch or its attorneys. They had no defense and no explanation for allowing infectious cats to spread disease throughout the population.
These statistics are available to anyone through our website, or you may obtain original, certified copies through the Madison County Court Clerk for a nominal fee. We have gathered official copies together for your convenience if you choose to avail yourself of that resource. See the Document Library, http://caboodleranch.net/?page_id=4 . In all, more than 95% of the population was suffering from a serious medical condition via disease, injury, or severe neglect.
Some of the pathology numbers are summarized below. (More will be available with the release of the necropsy reports, deceased animal records, lab test results, Madison Veterinary Clinic reports, and “seized documentation of interest” once these items are entered into evidence in State of Florida v. Craig Grant, scheduled to begin this month.)
Excluding Nanette Entriken’s cats which were not in the general population, 653 cats were seized. 652 of these are cataloged in the pathology reports.
4.8% of the total population (31 cats) were infected with ringworm. 7 of these were in the sick ward, and the rest were allowed to roam the property, spreading it to other cats. The free-roaming cats were not being treated.
Reference: Exhibit 10, Presumptive Dermatophytosis by Location
10% of the population (65 cats) were infected with FeLV. 13 of these cats were in the FeLV/FIV barn. The remaining 52 cats were loose on the property, infecting other cats.
Reference: Exhibit 11, Prevalence of FeLV by Location
16% of the total population (104 cats) were FIV+. 6 of the cats were in the FeLV/FIV barn. 29 of these cats were in the sick ward (53% of the cats in the sick ward were FIV+, and were not isolated). The remaining 69 FIV+ cats were loose on the property.
Reference: Exhibit 12, Prevalence of FIV by Location
39% of the total population (253 cats) were suffering with upper respiratory infections. 3 cats in the FIV barn were infected; 45 cats in the sick ward (82% of those cats) were infected. The remaining 205 cats were roaming the property, not isolated or contained in any way.
Reference: Exhibit 9, Total URI Prevalence by Location
Intake and lab tests revealed widespread infections in the general population: Tritrichomonas fetus, Herpes virus, Bordetella, M. felis, giardia, Chlamydophila felis, calicivirus, coronavirus, hookworms, ascarid (roundworms), grain mites, ear mites. The numbers of these and other infectious agents and the number of cats suffering from severely matted fur, ingrown claws, open wounds and abscesses, were not detailed in the custody hearing.
29 decomposing corpses were found above ground and in the buildings of Caboodle Ranch. Two of those cats were found in a vanity in the General Store. Dozens of corpses were found stuffed into garbage bags that were tossed into shallow ditches. Forensic investigators were able to remove the bodies without digging.
Exhibit 8 details the appalling filth of the Caboodle Ranch buildings.
As you can see from the photographs, most surfaces are porous and cannot be sanitized. They are a breeding ground for disease. The sick ward windows are cloudy with mucus and blood from sneezing cats. Several cats were so severely ill that they were unable to stand, and were left to suffer in their own waste. Several cats had urine burns from prolonged exposure to waste. Over a dozen had to be humanely euthanized within days of the raid.
Do these illnesses exist in other rescue and shelter facilities? Yes, but in any facility that meets minimal standards of hygiene, they are isolated from the rest of the population. Efforts are made to prevent the disease from spreading. They receive preventive treatment. The animals are kept in enclosures that are regularly cleaned and that permit sterilization. They receive medical care.
None of this was done at Caboodle Ranch, and because of the negligence and neglect, hundreds of cats were needlessly exposed to and infected with illnesses that will require lifelong care.
* Order Placing Animals, in which the judge in the custody hearing explains in great detail the facts that went into his determination that Caboodle Ranch 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.”
* Cross examination of Caboodle Ranch’s veterinarian, Dr. John C. Lewis, in which he acknowledges that for more than 700 cats over a 7 year period, he had treatment records for less than 200 cats, plus a stack of “40 of 50” deceased cats; that there was “a sizable mount of disease already present [in 2009]”; that Caboodle Ranch refused to euthanize suffering cats at the recommendation of their vet; that cats had access into and out of the sick ward; that identification was inadequate; that Craig Grant refused to stop taking in cats; and that Caboodle Ranch was dependent on taking in ever-growing numbers of cats: “He can’t get donations unless he takes in new cats. So it was a ‘Catch-22’ situation. Without the donations, we couldn’t do the other stuff; without the new cats, you couldn’t get the donations.”
Keep in mind, this testimony is from an ally of Caboodle Ranch.
Fantastic comment. Much appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to make it.
Thanks again for the full answer – fantastic. I’ll see if I can get accurate information about the prevalence of diseases at shelters generally. I am told I can get them from ASPCA but do shelters keep accurate records of the illnesses etc. suffered by their cats and do they know if the cats imported the illness to the shelter or contracted the disease at the shelter?
Shelters usually test all animals for contagious infectious diseases before they place them with the general population. This happened in a shelter in Gainesville. A kitten with panalupokemia (can’t spell it) the most contagious and deadly disease to cats and they closed the shelter and stopped taking in animals until they resolve the issue. So yes, legitimate shelters keep records. Caboodle Ranch kept no records even after they were orderd to do so by the Court on May 6, 2009. CR did not test incoming cats so we will ever know if they came in that way or if they contracted the diesaes while there. We do know that Craig’s cat, Tommy, contracted FIV while at the Ranch.
Oops. The kitten was brought to the shelter with the disease.