Nearly 700 cats were seized in Lee, Fla. at the end of February after an undercover investigation by PETA exposed the deplorable conditions at the Caboodle Ranch, a cat sanctuary famous for its tiny town of cat houses.
The ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response team has been assisting the Madison County Animal Control and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office with the removal of cats from the sanctuary after a search warrant was executed.
“The cats were found living in overcrowded and filthy conditions. Many are exhibiting signs of severe neglect and appear to be suffering from upper respiratory conditions and eye infections, among a host of other medical issues. Some sick cats were housed together but not separated by their afflictions, allowing for the unfettered transmission of various diseases. Responders have found numerous deceased and decomposing cats on the property, as well as multiple shallow grave sites,” according to the ASPCA.
More than 100 staff and volunteers from the ASPCA and individuals from 11 other organizations helped remove the cats and bring them to a temporary shelter in Jacksonville where they’re being cared for.
The ranch, owned by Craig Grant, is updating its website and painting the picture that the cats were well cared for, receiving veterinary care and that footage from the investigation was taken out of context, but numerous eyewitness reports and comments indicate that problems at the ranch were ongoing and that Grant was defensive and refused help of any kind.
Grant was arrested and charged with one count of felony animal cruelty, three counts of cruelty to animals and one count of scheming to defraud.
“It’s heartbreaking for the animal and it’s heartbreaking for the person who took that animal there thinking they were providing the best opportunity for their pet,” said ASPCA field investigator Tim Rickey. “I’m glad that we were able to get in and save these animals before many others suffered the same fate.”
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