Shocking Raid at Famed Caboodle Cat Ranch Nets 100s of Seized Animals

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Many of us have seen photos of the cute little buildings at Caboodle and have heard that it’s a cats paradise. The ranch has also had its detractors, and after an undercover investigation hundreds of cats have been seized.

I was stunned this morning to see headlines trumpeting a raid on the Caboodle Ranch, of Lee, Florida. I was aware of the sanctuary through cute images and the occasional feature on the place but, like many, knew little more about its operation.

Both the ASPCA and PETA had a hand in this morning’s raid, and each has issued its own press release on the matter. A disturbing undercover video made at the ranch by a PETA member is being used to bolster the case for the raid. The ASPCA reports that Caboodle ranch has been under investigation for over a year. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is involved in the case and will have to sort out the truth, balancing evidence measured against possible self interest on the part of the prominent groups, reports from various other accusers,  and the actual state of affairs at Caboodle ranch, as much as it can be known. A number of cats still set at “hundreds” until a final accounting is made, were seized, and ranch owner and operator Craig Grant will be charged with animal cruelty for the alleged extreme neglect of the animals entrusted into his care.

A Facebook page, Caboodle Ranch: Save the Kitties has been up and running for some time, and has been a gathering place for those holding a negative view of the sanctuary. Some there are also making accusations of financial impropriety, as well, but we have no knowledge that the investigation will encompass financial matters. Time will tell.

It is difficult to know where the truth lies, but the clear fact remains that hundreds of cats have been taken, will be processed and examined, and will need to be dealt with.  Some may be put down; perhaps many, if the accusations of illness and disease are valid. Assuming Mr. Grant either relinquishes or loses ownership of the cats, many may be in need of homes or other sanctuaries to take them.

Here follow videos showing differing views of Caboodle Ranch, along with a videonews report on the raid. Below the videos, you will find the ASPCA news release, giving details on the investigation and raid.

wtxl ACB27 report on today’s raid:

Down at the Caboodle Ranch, a positive feature:

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Caboodle Ranch: The Real story, a warning from June, 2011:

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The disturbing PETA undercover video: Please don’t watch if you don’t want to see cats in very rough shape.

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), at the request of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and Madison County Animal Control in northern Florida, is managing the removal and sheltering of hundreds of cats living in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions from a non-profit cat sanctuary known as Caboodle Ranch in Lee, Fla., approximately 64 miles east of Tallahassee, Fla. This is the largest number of cats the ASPCA has ever removed from one location in an animal cruelty investigation.

As a result of an investigation spanning for more than a year, a search warrant was executed Monday morning for the removal of the animals. The ASPCA is collecting additional evidence on the property for the investigation, as well as leading the removal and sheltering efforts with its Field Investigation and Response and Animal Forensics teams. The founder of Caboodle Ranch has been arrested and multiple animal cruelty charges are pending.

“After receiving numerous complaints regarding the care of animals at Caboodle Ranch, we’re glad that the appropriate enforcement action is being taken,” said Sheriff Ben Stewart with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. “This has been an ongoing issue that we’ve been monitoring and we’re grateful that the ASPCA is able to provide assistance with the investigation.”

“The ASPCA is pleased to be able to provide expertise and resources to support the efforts of the local authorities in investigating this ‘sanctuary’ that spiraled out of control,” added Tim Rickey, senior director of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response team. “This is a tragic situation. Caboodle Ranch was clearly overwhelmed with hundreds of cats in dire need of medical treatment, and the sanctuary had no adoption program or any spay/neuter efforts to effectively manage its current population. The ASPCA’s goal is to work quickly to remove these cats from the property and safely transport them to the temporary shelter, where they will be triaged by a veterinary team.”

The cats were living outside in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions with various medical issues that were left untreated. Many of the cats exhibited various signs of neglect and appear to be suffering from upper respiratory conditions and eye infections, among other medical issues. Several cats were in critical condition and responders discovered numerous deceased cats on the property.

Agencies assisting the ASPCA on scene include: Atlanta Humane Society (Atlanta, Ga.); Bay Area Disaster Animal Response Team (Belleair Bluffs, Fla.); Cat Depot (Sarasota, Fla.); Florida State Animal Response Coalition (Bushnell, Fla.); Good Mews Animal Foundation (Marietta, Ga.); Humane Society of Broward County (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.); International Fund for Animal Welfare (Yarmouth Port, Mass.); McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center (Chattanooga, Tenn.); PetSmart Charities, Inc. (Phoenix, Ariz.); and RedRover (Sacramento, Calif.). Staff from the University of Florida (Gainesville) College of Veterinary Medicine and Maples Center for Forensic Medicine at UF are also assisting with the rescue operation.

“Removing hundreds of animals is a huge undertaking, and we are truly grateful that these agencies offered their assistance in the case,” said Kathryn Destreza, director of Investigations for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team. “Numerous agencies throughout Florida and as far as California have committed to helping us continue our life-saving work and giving these rescued animals a second chance.”

The cats will be transferred via the ASPCA’s animal transport trailer to a temporary shelter at an undisclosed location, where ASPCA medical director Dr. Rhonda Windham will oversee their medical triage. To assist in the triage, the ASPCA has on scene its fully equipped “Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit,” a specially-designed vehicle outfitted with state-of-the-art forensic tools as well as medical equipment tailored for animal patients.

The undercover investigation was set into motion after complaints about the facility were received by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA submitted its evidence to the Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, and Madison County Animal Control. The ASPCA was contacted for assistance in the criminal investigation, evidence collection, rescue and sheltering efforts of the case.

About the ASPCA®Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animal welfare. More than one million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org . To become a fan of the ASPCA on Facebook, go to www.facebook.com/aspca . To follow the ASPCA on Twitter, go to www.twitter.com/aspca .

About Madison County Sheriff’s OfficeThe Madison County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for law enforcement services throughout our rural North Florida County. Madison County spans over 750 square miles with a population exceeding 20,000. The City of Madison is the only municipality within Madison County with a police department. The Sheriff’s Office coordinates closely with the Madison Police Department to jointly provide law enforcement for the city. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office provides primary law enforcement for the two other municipalities which includes the Town of Lee and the Town of Greenville. For more information, please visit www.mcso-fl.org .

37 thoughts on “Shocking Raid at Famed Caboodle Cat Ranch Nets 100s of Seized Animals”

  1. This is VERY sad news indeed ….. whatever went wrong, this gentleman tried and had such good intentions. Perhaps the people/organisations who waited to nail him should rather have helped him???? I am NOT a fan of many of the so-called animal protection organizations who get away themselves with atrocities.
    My prayers are with the cats and with the gentleman so that his dream can be realized and that he can continue to have a safe haven for the many unfortunate cats.

  2. OH MY GOD!i felt so bad with those babies who had all that snot running out of their noses. It made me cry… but they should take away the babies and find them good homes. it should never have left to become this big….

  3. It is clear from anyone who has run a shelter that this man put his own needs over and above the needs of the animals. It is common sense that you do not have pets or “be a martyr” to the rescuing community if you cannot afford to provide proper care, supplies, food, play, medical attention and at least seek adoptive homes for the cats. Do you blame social workers when a child is through conscious acts of commission neglected by the trusted caregivers left to starve and fend for himself? Of course not. So rather than see the problem for what it is ie., an act of cruelty on behalf os someone who knew better yet chose to do nothing and refused several attempts at support by the public and other members of society. I am sure he was warned and advised by others and you can’t say that no one who visited the premises did not reach out to him when the observed the reality of his situation. That is just ludicrous. Neglect is cumulative, it does not happen over night, it takes place over a period of time hence why the aspca and peta watched for a long time. To gather the evidence that he was indeed abusing these animals and its clear that he was. So rather than take responsibility as animal welfare activists we are only too willing to blame the system for failing the cats. It is not the system that failed those cats. Their caregiver did. Grossly and should be charged doubly as he had the trust of innocent voiceless creatures yet pretended to be a caring loving soul. No one that cares allows their children nor their pets to be neglected. He has unfortunately significant personal emotional problems for it to get to this state. To hoard animals like they are objects. They are not toys for his delight. Yet he refused to allow any adoptions to take place according to the video footage. He needs help and yet he will still claim when the starving, diseased animals are taken away that he cares. That is society’s shame. That by believing him we are as guilty as he is at failing these precious creatures. It’s simple. You reach out or you don’t. It was HIS duty to the animals to seek help not continue to ignore the facts. That is the definition of neglect. ACTS OF OMISSION. No one forced him to turn a blind eye. He chose to. Very sad indeed.

  4. ASCPA and PETA may be not the best organizations out there, but there is no excuse for what this man did to those cats. He maybe wanted to help them but it’s obvious he could not handle the number of cats and caused more suffering than anything. I’m glad the palce is being shut down.

  5. remarkable how Cat House on the Kings manages to just go on without any type of hoarding happening. poor babies!!!!

  6. Jeanine.Agree with you. Where in the world were all these do-gooders? Why not send in donations. Why weren’t the vets’ helping? volunteering a day a week or 2 for shots, spaying, neutering these babies? My heart is breaking for these babies. What’s going to happen to them? Where has PETA been as well as ASPCA before it came down to this? Why couldn’t they have helped? If these babies were hunting dogs it would be o.k. in that part of the state When I lived in that state if I lived in the un-incorpoprated part of town to have a cat spayed or neutered was $30-35…but if you lived in town it was $200-300 at a vet’s office! WHY? God watch over these babies.

  7. When I first seen videos of the caboodle ranch , I was astonished how 1 man could have created a paradise for his cats,hats off to this man for years of devotin for these animals, caring feeding building homes for these creatures. Now as I veiw these horrendous videos I’m really sick to my stomach. Maybe Craig had medical problems of his own, he took in 100’s of cats,some of those cats belonged to other people and things just got out of control with the caring of these animals and his home and his health, not to mention he took all of this monies from his own pocket. I do not condemn this man, I just wish he had the courage to seek help out there there, there are so many shelters and peta that could of helped him out. I just hope these animals when they did die (some of them) are in kitty heaven. As far as letting this man continue with what was a paradise is now shut down! He needs to get his health back in order and a fine for not trying to seek help for these loved ones of his.

  8. I’ve been suspicious as to Cat House on the King manages as they claim. They have stated in interviews that they are financially struggling. After dealing with CR, I’m very weary of such claims that places like these can even meet the cats most basic needs. However, I could be totally wrong about Cat House on the Kings. I would need to check it out thoroughly myself.

  9. Ummm, the Madison County Sheriff’s Department has already sorted out the truth and balanced the evidence against possible self-interest (what a bizarre and slightly ignorant statement, by the way…they would only do a seizure and arrest based on the actual state of affairs, not rumor and opinion) and arrested Grant on 1 felony count of animal cruelty, 3 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, and 1 count of scheming to defraud. In fact they arrested him first, before seizing any of the cats) based on the evidence from the investigation (pictures, video, etc.). Now, it’s up to the State Attorney’s office to determine how many more counts to charge him with.

  10. BTW I seen cats die there, I watched people bring in their house pet from 10 years and it die in less than a week from stress. I cried, I lost sleep and I lost weight during my 8 days there over a 4 week period. And now to see these pics and videos only brings back memories.

  11. This saddened me greatly.I thought this was finally a place cats could be safe.I sent them donations last year….
    *sighs*

  12. Carolyn if you are so confident about facts go ahead and post them here with something more legitimate than completely false sounding claims. I was at Caboodle earlier this year and saw none of the things or behavior you said. He was totally affectionate to the cats, made extra care to diagnose and manage the sick ones, and I hope you realize that in these facilities cats are often dropped and dumped in the worst condition possible. Even with the best care you can’t bring back every cat and I am sure every loss was heartbreaking for him. Check out your local humane society and see how many ‘questionable’ cats that lived out their lives happily with him would instead have been put down.

  13. The thing to keep in mind is that he absolutely required that documents be given showing cats were spayed or neutered before he would accept them. More importantly, even with a fence around the area, he would constantly have people dropping cats outside the fence or even putting them through during non-designated times. New cats were always isolated and given extra time to get used to the changes.

  14. Hello everyone,
    I am aware that there are strong feelings on this situation coming from both sides.
    We welcome everyone’s expression of their strongly held views on this matter but cannot tolerate personal attacks, excessive vulgarity and name calling. Several comments have been removed for that reason.
    I apologize to everyone who felt put off by the personal attacks and the abusive tone of those comments.
    I did not remove the comments because of their position on the issue. The commenter is welcome to give her view if she wants to tone the language down and cease the personal attacks.

  15. I can appreciate that “editor.” Sadly, there is only ONE point. When you keep reciting what you know and saw, pictures you have get posted, amazing orgs come in and document the same horror show, you get what I like call “beyond pissed off.”

    I won’t even waste my time. I am SO DAMN HAPPY THESE CATS WERE SAVED. I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SENTENCING. ENOUGH SAID!!!

  16. OKAY PEOPLE…how do we make sure they are bringing “practising without a license” charges against that scumbag…..he ain’t NO VET, but he does heal them with his mind….lmfao….that is a direct dr. psycho grant quote!

  17. At this point, I am not at all happy with how this story is unfolding. First off, if people would spay and neuter their cats, this guy probably wouldn’t have even felt like he had to take on the responsibility to care for them. Second, I take everything with a grain of salt, and since I wasn’t personally there to see what was happening at the ranch or during the raid, I cannot take anyone’s side here. Anything and everything can be manipulated. Nevertheless, I am deeply saddened and frustrated by the fact that there are so many cats that people threw away and/or neglected to spay or neuter. The cats are paying the price, no matter who did what! As I’ve been told before and truly believe, there are three sides to every story with the truth somewhere in between. We all need to spend more energy educating people to spay and neuter their pets and actually doing something instead of sitting back and expecting someone else to take care of things! We are all responsible!

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