Under the deal with the state, the criminal charges against Grant will be dropped if he agrees to take his medication, pay costs to the state attorney’s office and is not arrested within the next 24 months.
Grant’s attorney says the agreement won’t prohibit Grant from owning cats.
“He’s allowed to have animals. He’s allowed to have up to whatever many cats the local County ordinances allow,” said [Mr. Grant's attorney, David] Collins.
Some context here: ASPCA seized 700 cats and 2 dogs, including Mr. Grant’s personal pets, from Caboodle Ranch and disposed of them as they saw fit. Many were adopted during 3 mass adoption events. I don’t know what happened to the rest of the animals and I suspect the ASPCA will never provide those details.
The ASPCA pads its bank account with nearly $150 million in donations every year and yet had the audacity to file a suit against Mr. Grant seeking “reimbursement” of the $1 million it says was spent caring for the seized cats. How can an organization seek to be “reimbursed” for having spent funds on animal care when the money was donated by animal lovers who thought it would be used to help animals? Check out the ASPCA invoice for expenses which includes a staggering number of flights in and out of Jacksonville, hotel fees, food bills and the following line items:
- 267: $4920.42 for utensils, etc.
- 412: $2048.60 to change light bulbs
- 1173: $18 for vegan cupcakes for shelter workers
And then there are the consulting fees:
- 154: $2000 for 5 days of consultant fees to Katie Flood
- 310: $800 for 2 days of consultant fees for James Brenneman
- 914: $3200 for 2 weeks of consultant fees for Aldo Wilson
- 971: $2800 for 2 weeks of consultant fees for Phree Phillips
- 988: $1000 for 5 days of consultant fees for Joanna Fogarty
- 1005 $1000 for 5 days of consultant fees for Laura MacDougall
- 1026 and 1027: $2800 for 7 days of consultant fees for Tonya Loreman
- 1043: $800 for 2 days of consultant fees for Mary Manspeaker
- 1052: $4400 for 11 days of consultant fees for Elizabeth Maxwell
- 1153: $39,688 estimated consultant fees up to April 30, 2012
I picked out the above entries at random but there are many, many more entries for consultant fees. ASPCA apparently needed a lot of consultants during the months following the seizure. I thought ASPCA folks were supposed to be the experts? I mean, with the amount of money spent on consultants, couldn’t they have gotten someone off the unemployment line with no animal experience and just put that person in charge instead? At least then I could understand the need to fly in expert after expert, week after week, month after month, for their advice.
At any rate, the court did not award ASPCA their million bucks. In fact, the judge’s ruling seems to indicate (to my layman’s understanding) that the ASPCA had not been officially appointed an agent of the state prior to the seizure and therefore had no standing to file for expenses incurred. My question would then be, if the ASPCA had no official designation from the state to act in this case, on what legal basis did they dispose of the seized animals?
Mr. Grant clearly seems to have an interest in relocating and starting a new cat sanctuary. Regardless of whether you believe Caboodle was a great place for cats, the nightmare of neglect and suffering described by the ASPCA and PETA, or fell somewhere in between, one must ask at this point – what was all this for? The raid, the mass seizure, the mass adoption events which could have theoretically been used to find homes for cats already in shelters, the court cases – what was it all for? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Some of you might remember when A Second Chance Animal Shelter in Manning, SC shipped 41 of their dogs off to places that kill pets via the ASPCA. At that time, I made inquiries to A Second Chance, an organization that describes itself as “low to no kill”, but they were less than thrilled about the prospect of providing me with information. This time, I will let the group’s website speak for itself. Here is a screengrab of Merlin’s listing there today:
The text beneath Merlin’s photo describes him as an “AKC Registered, male Weimeraner (sic) puppy” and instructs interested buyers to call for his selling price. Today I received an e-mail from someone who inquired about Merlin as well as the response she says she received:
From: Mrs. Ramsey
Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 10:23 AM
I was so excited to see the AKC Weimeraner puppy on your Web site. I would like to know how much he is . I have been looking for one forever. He is so pretty. My cell phone is in the shop and I do not have a house phone so please send me all the information so i can show my husband. We have a female that needs a buddy . Thank you so much.
From: Adoption Coordinator <email@example.com>
To: Mrs. Ramsey
Sent: Tue, Apr 30, 2013 10:47 am
Subject: Re: Merlin
Good Morning, Mrs. Ramsey.
Merlin’s adoption fee is $500.00. He’s up to date on vaccines and has his papers. He will not be neutered, unless you want him to be. May I ask what website you’re looking at? If you’re still interested in Merlin, please feel welcome to visit him anytime. Our hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 9am to 3pm. We can be reached by email or by the number listed below. We look forward to hearing from/seeing you.
Thank you for your interest in Merlin.
Leslie Jones, Adoption Coordinator
A Second Chance Animal Shelter
5079 Alex Harvin Hwy
Manning SC, 29102
Adoption Coordinator. I’m gonna go with LOL on that.
On its website, A Second Chance includes “population control” and “spay and neuter programs” in its mission statement. LOL redux.
When I contacted A Second Chance in 2011, the organization described itself as “low to no kill”. That appears to have changed, at least according to the website:
We are a “No-Kill” shelter and some animals will stay with us all their lives– those that are handicapped, those who cannot emotionally recover from their experiences and cannot be placed in a home, and some that are just not “cute” enough to be chosen.
Except for the 41 long term resident dogs shipped off with the ASPCA to places that kill animals, that could almost sound truthful.
It’s so nice that the ASPCA was able to clear out the black & uglies from this place to make room for profitable little stud dogs like Merlin. I don’t imagine A Second Chance will be calling the ASPCA to take Merlin off their hands anytime soon.
April 1, 2013
Many pet lovers are shocked to learn that most municipal facilities that call themselves animal shelters do not actually shelter animals. In fact, these so-called shelters kill pets rescuers are willing to save, because they can. More still are astonished when they learn that some of the private non-profits calling themselves humane societies or societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals are guilty of the same crimes against pets as the municipal facilities that kill pets who are wanted.
In the case of public facilities, pet advocates can and should petition their government for a redress of grievances. But historically this has been a mixed bag of results with far too many elected officials blatantly thumbing their noses at taxpayers who call upon them to force animal shelter staff to do their jobs. Our public servants delete animal advocacy comments from their Facebook pages, ignore e-mails and petitions, and refuse to meet with advocates in person. When they do address the issue publicly, it’s usually to give the pet killing facility a pat on the back while wagging their fingers at the “irresponsible public”.
When it comes to the private HS/SPCA organizations, well-meaning advocates sometimes believe they should report the needless killing of pets there to the “national” HS/SPCA, meaning the Humane Society of the U.S. and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The sad truth is that neither of these organizations is affiliated with your local shelter, even if the names are similar. Furthermore, HSUS and ASPCA are primarily fundraising organizations and will likely not intervene to prevent wanted pets from being killed by your local non-profit organization.
But there is a solution that addresses the needless killing of wanted pets, and offers numerous other protections for shelter animals, at both public and private shelters. It’s called the Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA). CAPA has already been passed in DE and has been introduced by legislators in MN, RI and WV. Modified versions have been introduced in NY, TX, IL and FL. More states will be announcing modified versions of CAPA on their legislative agendas soon.
CAPA lays out a number of important requirements for public and private shelters that include lifesaving, transparency and community participation. Specifically, neither public nor private shelter directors would have the discretion to kill pets under CAPA without giving public notice nor would they be allowed to kill pets that a rescue is willing to take.
Too often on this blog, we hear from pet advocates who have been shafted by shelter directors committed to killing for arbitrary reasons and, in some cases, in retaliation for shining a light on their dark secrets. Here is a way to do something about that. Augment your existing animal advocacy (fostering, rescue, networking, etc.) with some political advocacy that will not only save pets’ lives, but help the people who love them too.
Do you want accountability, transparency and legal access to the animals in your shelter’s care? If so, you want CAPA. Talk to your state or local legislators about getting CAPA introduced to protect your community’s pets from those who are needlessly killing them, because they can. CAPA would make needless and secretive shelter pet killing illegal, regardless of whether the shelter is public or private. Under CAPA, we would not only protect the lives of shelter pets but the hearts and minds of pet advocates who currently suffer at the whims of directors, standing by their cabinets of Fatal Plus and scoffing at the so-called irresponsible public’s attempts to actually shelter animals.
March 7, 2013
I get a wide array of mail. I need to share it more often. Sharing this one with permission from reader Arlene because it cracked me up. To provide a little context, Arlene normally sends me links and info accompanied by polite commentary or questions. But she apparently woke up on the feisty side of the bed when she e-mailed me a link to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and copied a blurb from the webpage:
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is available 24/365. A trained staff of veterinary toxicologists can access information to help diagnose problems and give treatment advice.
The fee is $65 to your credit card.
What made me chortle was Arlene’s subject line:
Did you know there were charges for this? After all the money they collect for doing nothing?
She makes a good case. Millions in the bank, courtesy of compassionate animal lovers who think their donations are being used to help one eyed shelter pets shivering in cages, but the ASPCA won’t tell you if the chocolate chip cookie Buffy just ate is going to kill her unless you can cough up $65 in advance.
January 5, 2013
5. Celebrity Rachel Ray gave the ASPCA half a million dollars less than 2 months ago to board pets displaced by Hurricane Sandy at its Emergency Boarding Facility in Brooklyn. At the time, ASPCA president Ed Sayres promised, “The need is daunting, but the animals will not be forgotten.” After caring for just 280 animals for such a short period of time, there must be tons of cash leftover. The ASPCA should spend it fulfilling Ed Sayres’ promise.
4. Even without Rachel Ray’s generous donation, the ASPCA already has plenty of money to care for the displaced Sandy pets for as long as necessary. The Sarah McLachlan ad alone raised $30 million dollars in its first year and a half running on TV. The NY Times described it as “a landmark in nonprofit fund-raising, where such amounts are virtually unimaginable for a single commercial.” It’s been airing ever since. Nathan Winograd says, “Last year, the ASPCA had total revenues which were just shy of $150 million dollars.”
3. So much pet food was donated to feed pets impacted by Sandy, there were literally tons of excess which had to be given away in order to free up warehouse space. Again, there are plentiful resources to care for the 136 pets still at the Brooklyn ASPCA shelter for as long as necessary.
2. In any cases where the owner of the pet is known and the owner indicates an intention to take the pet back as soon as circumstances allow, the ASPCA should continue to provide temporary shelter, either at the facility or in a foster home, until the owner can reclaim the pet. That shouldn’t even be a question.
1. Killing healthy/treatable pets, such as the ones displaced by Sandy, is wrong. Dropping them off at the pound to potentially get sick or be killed is also wrong. Neither of these horrifying options should be on the table for the ASPCA. Why are they?
(Thank you Marge and Tip for sending me 2 of the links included in this post.)
January 4, 2013
Reuters is reporting that 136 unclaimed pets at the emergency Hurricane Sandy shelter operated by the ASPCA in Brooklyn may be in danger:
Most of the owners that the ASPCA has identified live in temporary housing or with family and friends, environments that prevent them from bringing their animals home, [ASPCA spokeswoman Kelly] Krause said. A majority of the owners who had yet to claim their pets lived in the hard-hit Rockaways neighborhood in Queens.
It was too early to say whether any of the pets that remain left behind would be put down, Krause said.
Another possibility for the unclaimed pets, besides the death thing, is the ASPCA dropping them off at the pound. Which, you know, pffft.
Gee, if only the ASPCA could scrounge up the funds to take care of these pets for as long as needed. But I guess their multi-million dollar bank account is just too small to pay for actual pet care. There are more one-eyed pet TV commercials to be produced and salaries to be paid and pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?
(Thank you Arlene for sending me this link.)
April 7, 2012
The troubled Spartanburg pound in SC spent $17 grand on lobbying last year according to the group’s 990 tax form (page 10). The Spartanburg pound has no lobbyists on the payroll to my knowledge so I presume they gave the money to one of the large national animal groups who does. The form doesn’t state to whom the $17,ooo was paid.
In other news, the head of the Spartanburg pound is quitting his job to take a position with the ASPCA as the director of legal advocacy case development, effective April 20.
March 2, 2012
You may have been reading this week about the arrest of Caboodle Ranch owner Craig Grant. Mr. Grant operated a cat sanctuary in FL and was featured in a satirical piece on the Colbert Report about a year ago. You can see the very funny clip, which shows many of the cats and their environment here.
Local law enforcement, working with the ASPCA, have seized all of Mr. Grant’s cats (about 700). Mr. Grant intends to fight the cruelty charges. If he is ultimately acquitted, will the ASPCA give him his 700 cats back?
PETA has posted an “undercover expose” clip on its website about Caboodle. I’m not linking to it but if you are interested, you can Google it. It shows footage, obtained over a period of several months, of sick and suffering cats. The thing I have never trusted about the PETA “undercover expose” videos is that they compile them over months. This bothers me for a couple of reasons. How could any compassionate person watch a pet suffer for months – if that’s what’s happening – in order to document cruelty? Furthermore, if you stay at any sanctuary for an extended period, you are bound to see all sorts of things crop up and there is no way for viewers to know context once PETA has edited down months of footage to 5 minutes. For example, the place may take in one sick/malnourished/whatever cat a month and if you film for six months – BOOM, you’ve got 6 cats in bad shape for your video and you don’t have to disclose that they came in that way. Also it’s PETA so…
What are your thoughts on this case?
February 14, 2012
On Wednesday February 15, Assembly Bill A05449A will be introduced in the NY state Ag Committee. This quick kill bill is expected to pass and we need to make our voices heard tonight to keep that from happening. This quick kill bill is of immediate concern to NYers because it affects their community pets but it’s also very worrying for pet owners everywhere because it sets a legal precedent for more needless shelter pet killing.
And once again, it falls upon “the irresponsible public” to stand up for the lives of pets because the multi-million dollar animal welfare groups won’t do it. Where is Alley Cat Allies, the nation’s largest group advocating for feral cats? They should be mobilizing their forces in opposition to this bill which will legalize instant killing for every feral cat in NY. Where is Best Friends? They ask people to donate so there will be “no more homeless pets” but this bill might as well be named “no more living homeless pets”. Why aren’t they mass e-mailing members to take action against this? HSUS? Tuh, I know better than to ask. And of course ASPCA is the group that is leading the coalition to get the quick kill bill made into law.
It’s up to you and me. Again. No matter where you live, please take action and voice your opposition to the ASPCA’s quick kill bill. Then pass this information on to your compassionate animal friends. Every voice counts.
As always, please keep your comments respectful.
With permission, I am sharing Nathan Winograd’s most recent post on the subject, complete with action items, below. This is the most succinct explanation I’ve seen. If you aren’t familiar with the quick kill bill and need more information, there are links at the end.
From Nathan Winograd:
If the ASPCA and Assembly Member Amy Paulin get their way, feral cats and scared cats can be exterminated immediately on intake in New York State shelters.
The ASPCA is pushing legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Amy Paulin that would allow New York State shelters to kill animals immediately if shelter staff determine that the animals are in “psychological pain.” There is no definition of what constitutes psychological pain and no standards to how it will be applied. For the first time anywhere in the U.S., shelters will be allowed to kill animals with no holding period of any time based on the animals’ perceived state of mind, giving regressive shelter bureaucrats unlimited discretion to immediately kill animals based on unenforceable, unknowable, and completely subjective criteria. Not only is this a real and immediate threat to shy and scared animals, as well as feral cats, but it is a very dangerous precedent to introduce in the animal control laws of our nation.
Whether you are from New York or not, please speak up for the animals:
- Email Ed Sayres: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Post comments on the ASPCA Facebook page: www.facebook.com/aspca
- Post comments to twitter: @aspca
- Email Amy Paulin: PaulinA@assembly.state.ny.us
- Post comments on Paulin’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/assemblywomanpaulin
- Post comments to twitter: @AmyPaulin
January 29, 2012
I change the channel as soon as I hear Sarah McLachlin’s voice singing for the ASPCA in one of their commercials. I can’t stand the sad music paired with the parade of one-eyed pets asking for more money for a multi-million dollar organization that fights against shelter reform and no kill. So I had never seen an ad, featuring a mama GSD mix named Betty, until Billy showed it to me. (I couldn’t find a good link to the commercial but it’s apparently on TV all the time and has been for years. You could probably just go turn on your television right now and see it.) Billy thought the ad was manipulative in that it showed this pitiful mama dog, shaking in a cage, but never told what happened to her. Was she still at the pound? How did she respond to her veterinary treatment? Did she need an adopter?
I decided to poke around online to see if I could find out about Betty. When I found what appeared to be a legitimate response from the ASPCA regarding Betty, I e-mailed the following to Billy:
Many people have asked online about the dog you wondered about from the ASPCA commercial. Apparently that footage is from 2003 and she has since been adopted:
Thank you very much for your email regarding the dog named Betty in our commercial. When the ASPCA found Betty she was injured badly with a fractured vertebra, she could barely move but she continued to care for her new born pups. All of her pups were successfully adopted and shortly after in February 2003 Betty also found her new family and given the name Apple to start her journey with her new pet parents and another canine. Eight years later, Apples parents inform us that she is just as beautiful and intelligent as the day they brought her home and was a wonderful addition to the family. She spends her days chasing squirrels around five acres and being spoiled by her parents. Apple couldn’t have wished for a better life. This is just one of many rescue stories with a happy ending. Sincerely, ASPCA Public Information
I thought this would probably reassure him. Not so. His response:
Well – that makes it even more exploitative and manipulative that they’ve known all along and can’t put an update on the commercial. That would mean less donations. I’m sure someone had to dig deep to find this info. out.
He has a point. Have you seen the commercial with Betty and her pups? What do you think?