This is one of those articles I really hate to write, because it shows examples of just how many bad animal rescues are out there. Many are functioning as respected 501c3 non-profits, right up until the day a neighbor turns them in and they’re raided by police.
A recent raid stemming from a neighbor’s complaints occurred on March 24, 2015 when St. Petersburg, Florida Police Department officers were sent to the property of All Creatures Great and Small Wildlife Inc.. This article goes into depth as to the seizure of more than three dozen dogs and puppies, 14 cats and a number of raccoons. All were in feces and urine soaked cages and without food or water (examiner.com article).
The raid resulted in the arrest of Patricia Gates Scites and Veronica Anne Faulseit, who are board members of All Creatures Great and Small Wildlife Inc. The two women were placed under arrest and charged with three counts each of misdemeanor animal cruelty. They were taken to Pinellas County Jail, but with so few charges, they may have bonded out since these are considered misdemeanor offenses.
Once again we have a rescue everyone thought was helping animals, who were taking pledges right up until the day they were raided, for pulling the dogs and cats from local shelters (Hillsborough County Animal Services to name one). Now it’s feared some of these cats are among those seized from the property. Cats that were in cages without food or water and who would likely have died, had the police not been tipped off. The Julianne Westberry cats came to mind after hearing the news of these poor animals. What if a neighbor hadn’t seen something suspicious and called police?
Another recent case to make the news came when a landlord was evicting Faith, Hope and Love Rescue, Inc. of Titusville, Florida on March 11th. Brevard County Sheriff’s Department deputies arrived to find members of that rescue attempting to load up 10 dogs and 43 cats into a U-Haul truck in an effort to transport them to another place.
Police intercepted and the animals were taken to Brevard County, Florida North Animal Care and Adoption Center. A plea went out for rescues to step up and take these rescues or other animals housed at the adoption center so no dogs or cats would have to be euthanized to make room. The complete details on the Brevard County seizure can be found here.
It’s sad that so many rescues are in it for the money, leaving the dogs and cats who are supposed to receive the funds for food and medical care to slowly die in their own filth while the rescue owners get richer and richer. Faith, Hope and Love Rescue, Inc. had been reported in the past as a bad rescue, but it took a call from the landlord to help evict to expose them. I’m not sure whether All Creatures Great and Small had any previous complaints, but according to a Facebook post, they were rescuing cats as recently as March 17.
People are paying closer attention to rescues who refuse to show transparency in what happens to the dogs and cats and where the money goes. Facebook has several new groups and mass message links where individual rescues are flagged and watched. Neighbors are speaking up when something looks, or in many cases “smells” wrong. The time to look the other way and ignore nagging suspicions is over. Each community must police the rescues in their area. Visit those rescues personally and report inhumane conditions. And do it before the animals in their care die of abuse and neglect.