Haven Acres Cat Seizure Jumps to 671, Now Nation’s Largest Ever

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The number of cats seized from a Florida sanctuary that was told to limit their numbers and is now under investigation for animal neglect has jumped from the 517 we reported yesterday to an all time national high of 671.

The well coordinated seizure from Haven Acres cat sanctuary in High Springs FL that we reported yesterday in Massive 517 Cat Seizure Brings National Organizations to High Springs FL Sanctuary has continued, and is now the largest such operation involving cats ever conducted in the US. The operation took place over two days, on June 7 and 8.
A large air conditioned warehouse has been set up to house the cats while they are evaluated by veterinarians as the county’s animal services agency waits to obtain authorization to assume ownership of the animals, some of which will be dispersed across the country with the help of volunteers from United Animal Nations.

Several organizations, agencies and vererinary service parties have cooperated to make this a very efficiently conducted raid and transfer, where the cats were placed in carriers and removed to the special facility set up to receive them.

The current neglect investigation was triggered when an Alachua County animal services representative recently reported finding a dead cat in a cage and seeing some sick cats. While we initially wondered whether most cats were healthy and well cared-for, today’s seizure update from animal Services Director David Flagler tells of a facility that appeared very nice on the surface but was very different behind the scenes.

In reference to area residents who brought cats to the sanctuary and are now expressing concern, Mr Flagler says, in the Gainsville Sun, “They thought they were taking their cats to a country club environment, and even some of our own staff thought the conditions were much better than what was found. We are going to do everything we can to give these people a chance to get their cats back because, obviously, they saw the best side of that program.”

It is reported that, from initial observation, some cats seem healthy and alert while others have respiratory infections, eye problems, missing ears and parts of their mouths, and badly matted fur.

The local code enforcement officer who visited the sanctuary some months back says conditions have meanwhile worsened, while Edgemoor resident Dana Stubblefield says local and county agencies bear some responsibility for either not paying enough attention to the situation or for looking the other way.

Owner Penny Lefkowitz says she had complied with an order to reduce the number of cats on the property but the spring influx of cats brought the number back up.

We will continue to follow the story as it develops.

HSUS video from the seizure

13 thoughts on “Haven Acres Cat Seizure Jumps to 671, Now Nation’s Largest Ever”

  1. Ugh. This is the second post in as many minutes, that helps me to realize that the whole paradigm of the relationship between humans and pets is severely corrupt.

  2. Ya know, u cant jump to conclusions…i believe they were trying their best, and many many many of these cats wer ebetter off than on the street starving or being abused by someone.

  3. It does make you wonder: how many *were* dumped on them that were already sick or in bad shape, since I would imagine that is true. Sounds like they were in way over their heads. $33K a year for over 600 cats sure doesn’t seem like enough money, not with proper nutrition, let alone medical care. I just hope the HSUS doesn’t put too many of them down — that’s my fear at this point, that they are given a chance elsewhere.

  4. Jane, I couldn’t agree more, I get so upset just reading the headlines and then it affects my health~! ugh~! But this is sooooo sad and it certainly isn’t about me, but I know what you’re saying. I’ve clearly banned myself from the Animal Planet “Animal Hoarders” show, no way, I would sob~!

  5. Nicole, I agree…that was my first thought, that they might “panic” over the numbers and put a bunch of them down to reduce the “load.” The article says that they will spread them out across the country…I hope that is indeed what they do. The article said that they’ll give people a chance to get their cats back if they want them…hope that does happen as well. Poor kitties…I hope things go well for them. Just breaks my heart.

  6. This makes me sick! Yet at the same time, am I understanding this correctly that they were all dropped off/abandoned to this place? That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever read/seen… I just had to backspace my own comment, much too offensive.

  7. I wish I had not watched this video. I am absolutely so sad and upset at what I saw. Can anyone tell me where Velcro went and how he is doing?

  8. Joyce, the kitties have been taken to a large facility where they will all be checked out by vets before either being returned to local residents who entrusted them to the sanctuary or taken to shelters around the country, hopefully to be adopted or taken to refuges.
    I suppose it might be possible to find out. The HSUS, who is using this video for fundraising, might be wise to follow Velcro’s tale for those who might be interested in his progress.

  9. It would be nice if HSUS gave that money to the caregivers/rescues/shelters and fosters who will end up caring for kitties but won’t receive a penny.

  10. The final number was 697. There is no possible way 2 individuals could properly care for that many animals. I sincerely hope that justice is served here. The conditions those cats were in – SICK.

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