Thursday, March 8, 2012

New law could create more hoarders like Caboodle Ranch

by: Noël McLaren

LEE, Fla. -- They came to this sanctuary to be saved but instead investigators say a Ponte Vedra Beach man left hundreds of cats to die. 

Craig Grant's Caboodle Ranch in Lee, Florida was raided because of overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. Grant was hoarding nearly 700 cats. Some of those cats are being taken to shelters in Jacksonville. Shelter workers in our area are calling it a disgusting crime.

"It is the antithesis of what it is we're working for that's for sure," said Denise Deisler, executive director of the Jacksonville Humane Society.

"It's a sad situation," said Rick Ducharme, director at First Coast No More Homeless Pets. The organization operates a no kill adoption center in Mandarin. He says pet owners didn't get what they bargained for at Caboodle Ranch.

"Those cats were taken there by people who thought they were going to a sanctuary where cats would be safe the rest of their lives but instead they were sending them to a place that was not good for cats," Ducharme.

He calls Grant a hoarder, not a shelter operator.

"That was a sanctuary set up by one man and probably good-hearted intention and probably got over his head," said Ducharme.

Now some fear a new bill in Tallahassee could create more hoarding problems. The Animal Rescue Act would allow people like Grant to open shelters without having the proper resources.

Senator Mike Bennett is sponsoring the bill. He says it's all about saving more cats and dogs.

"We should encourage instead of euthanizing animals, encourage people to adopt them," said Senator Bennett.

But after seeing the faces of the cats at Caboodle, it's clear something needs to be done. Two thousand animals are euthanized every day in Florida and while no kill shelters say that isn't the answer, they say hoarding isn't either..."  More & video

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