Florida's Caboodle Ranch, an organization touting itself as a "cat sanctuary," has been anything but, PETA investigators discovered. They learned that the "ranch" was actually a facility run by one man, where roughly 700 cats were found enduring filthy, torturous conditions and severe neglect.
Based on evidence collected by PETA, authorities seized the suffering animals and charged Caboodle's founder and operator, Craig Grant, with felony and misdemeanor cruelty to animals and scheme to defraud.
Cats were left to deteriorate in dilapidated, mold-filled trailers that smelled strongly of ammonia, investigators noted. They would be crowded together in cramped kennels, surrounded by dirty furniture. The animals were also denied much-needed veterinary care for ailments including upper respiratory infections. While the investigators were undercover, any requests they made to rush sick cats to the vet for emergency medical attention were denied and casually dismissed.
Many of the cats were sick with a condition known as feline immunodeficiency virus; others had leukemia. All of the ill animals were allowed to roam freely and brush up against one another. In a poor attempt to "clean the sick cats," Grant rubbed their eyes and noses with Clorox wipes.
Eventually, many of these cats had insects - including roaches and maggots - crawling around their living areas.
More grim still, was the fact that investigators found the remains, bones, and skulls of dead cats in the woods on Grant's property.
Of the cats left to suffer neglect and abuse, a particularly disturbing case was that of Lily. After Lily suffered an eye infection, her iris protruded through a ruptured cornea, and subsequently suffered this way for months until going permanently blind in that eye. In response, Grant placed the cat in his so-called "sick ward" trailer, where she became depressed and withdrawn as she continued to fall more ill. She died on Jan. 31.
Her prolonged agony is a strong and powerful example of the cruelty for which Caboodle is responsible, and is the basis for the criminal charges Grant faces.
PETA is now urging activists to contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, calling upon them to cancel Caboodle's registration to accept monetary contributions. Why? Because, despite the fact that all Caboodle cats were seized, Grant continues to ask the public for donations, adding insult to injury for those deeply concerned over this incident.
Photo: Cats have had to endure filthy and torturous conditions at Caboodle Ranch. PETA