Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Maury Swee: 10th Life Sanctuary, Florida

Dec 30, 2009: 10th Life Sanctuary closed for good

One of the largest cat rescues in United States history is now over.

Last month the NBC2 Investigators uncovered pictures of dead and nearly dead cats, some living in inhumane conditions at the 10th Life Sanctuary in Clewiston.

A week after our story aired, pet rescuers from across the state, including veterinarians from the University of Florida, descended on the so-called sanctuary.

Owner Maury Swee, who is now under investigation for animal cruelty, voluntarily surrendered the cats to the City of LaBelle's Animal Control, which has spent the last month placing them.

Out of the nearly 600 cats found on the property, 185 had to be euthanized because they were critically ill or too wild to be adopted; 410 found new homes..." More

Press release: click here

Dec 6, 2009: UF program helps relocate more than 450 cats

"This is one of the largest cat rescues that most of us know about, and probably in the top five nationally, as far as the number of cats that were relinquished and need care," said Dr. Julie Levy, head of Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the university.

Levy added that the situation "meets a lot of the criteria we would use to describe hoarding," including "having more animals than you can provide a humane level of care for."

Levy made an unannounced visit Nov. 16 to the 10th Life Sanctuary in Clewiston, along with other University of Florida experts and representatives from the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The team declared the sanctuary's conditions and the animals' care inadequate, forcing owner Maury Swee to relinquish all 540 felines in his care to the presiding animal control department.

While the team found, during its initial walk-through, 13 cats suffering and in need of urgent veterinary care, a closer examination found 93 cats too sick for care who were euthanized, Levy said.

Nov 26, 2009: Cat rescue underway at pet sanctuary

CLEWISTON: Animal rescue teams descended on a cat sanctuary in Hendry County. The NBC2 Investigators were the first to break the story of unsanitary living conditions at the 10th Life Sanctuary.

Rescue teams from around the state arrived at 7 a.m. Monday.

"The main reason they're here is to try and save them," said Doug Morgan, Director of Labelle's Department of Animal Control.

"This is a monumental task," acknowledged Dr. Julie Levy – one of 75 people on hand this week to help Morgan's effort to get the 600 cats off property.

"So we've been working through the weekend to pull the resources together," said John Haven who is leading the effort.

He's the director of the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine and the head of their disaster response team. Haven says during the next three days, they plan to administer physical examinations and blood tests to every one of the cats at 10th Life Sanctuary.

Animal Control officers say the property's owner, Maury Swee, is cooperating, but he would not allow NBC2 on property Monday while volunteers cleaned out pins and rounded up the cats..." More & video

Nov 18, 2009: Pet sanctuary under investigation More & video

Nov 10, 2009: Sanctuary's treatment of cats concerning expert More & video

Nov 9, 2009: Sanctuary for unwanted pets More & video