Thursday, March 29, 2012

Steve & Pennie Lefkowitz, Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary - Florida

Mar 29, 2012:  Hoarders of 700 cats ordered to pay $600,000 to Humane Society

The owners of the Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary, from which 697 cats were seized in a case of hoarding last year, pleaded no contest Thursday to 47 counts of animal cruelty and were sentenced to 15 years of probation along with fines and a prohibition on owning or rescuing any cats.
State Attorney's Office spokesman Spencer Mann said Steve Lefkowitz, 65, and his wife, Pennie, 60, also must pay $626,770 to the Humane Society of the United States as restitution for expenses and abide by other sanctions.
"They must enter mandatory mental health treatment for hoarding," Mann said. "They must submit to inspections by the county to ensure there are no cats."
Efforts Thursday to reach the Lefkowitzes and their attorney for comment were unsuccessful.
With nearly 700 cats, Haven Acres in Alachua County was the largest case of cat hoarding worked by the Humane Society of the United States -- the primary agency involved in handling the animals, an organization spokeswoman said at the time of the seizures..."  More

Alachua County Animal Services along with two other organizations seized 697 cats and one rooster from the Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary near High Springs. Steve and Pennie Lefkowitz, whose home is also on the property, operate Haven Acres.
The seizure, which occurred over a two day period beginning Tuesday morning, was part of a criminal investigation and in response to concerns of alleged hoarding, said Animal Services Director David Flagler.
Animal Services was tipped off in late May when a person wanting to drop off a cat at the sanctuary became concerned upon seeing the conditions of the animals there, Flagler said....
...County code enforcement checks apparently did little to catch the escalating feline population at Haven Acres. The operation was within its 200-cat limit according to code enforcement statistics retrieved this year. Flagler said every time code enforcement made a visit, they were told by people at the sanctuary that there were 197 cats on site...." More

Jun 8, 2011: More than 500 cats seized at sanctuary

By Cindy Swirko

About 517 felines were seized Tuesday as part of a criminal investigation involving a cat sanctuary that has been controversial for several years.
The Humane Society of the United States, which is assisting the investigation, said the number of animals involved rates it as one of the largest cases worked by the organization.
“We have done several rescue cases in the 500-animal range over the past few years, but this is definitely one of the largest (probably top 3) cat hoarding cases the HSUS has ever done,” spokeswoman Jordan Crump wrote Tuesday in an email.
The investigation at Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary, at 21023 NW 168th Lane, began about two weeks ago when an Alachua County Animal Services officer went there and found a dead cat in a cage and others that appeared to be sick, said Animal Services Director David Flagler.
“We saw evidence of a hoarding mentality,” Flagler said. “It wasn’t until we went out and inspected two weeks ago that we found out that they had more cats than what they were allowed. But until we got in today, we had no idea it was this many.”.." More & video (graphic)

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