700 cats removed; owner charged with animal cruelty

A nonprofit cat sanctuary in Lee run by a Ponte Vedra Beach man has been raided by Madison County officials, who remove the felines and arreste the owner, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.ASPCA--2/27/12 One of an estimated 700 cats huddles in the rain at the Caboodle Ranch  as 125 law enforcement and animal care investigators arrived at the cat sanctuary in Lee, Fla. to investigate animal cruelty charges. Over the next few days, all of the cats will be rounded up, treated at an emergency shelter and put up for adoption at some point.

Craig Grant, who started the Caboodle Ranch in 2007, was the only person on site when investigators arrived Monday to remove an estimated 700 cats at the request of the Sheriff’s Office and animal control agency.

Grant remains in the Madison County jail on three counts of cruelty to animals and one count each of scheming to defraud and felony cruelty to animals, with bail set at $250,000, said Madison County jail officials.

About 125 law enforcement and animal care officials went to the ranch after a 5-month undercover investigation into animal cruelty complaints resulted in a search warrant, said society senior investigator Tim Rickey. Now a three- to five-day recovery effort begins, he said.

“A lot of cats have upper respiratory disease, the type unknown, but they are sick. There are cats with open wounds and some with neurological issues,” Rickey said from the scene. “Overall conditions of some of the buildings are filthy and pretty deplorable.”

Complaints have been coming in steadily for a long time from a lot of outlets and organizations that visited there, he said.

via Ponte Vedra man arrested on animal cruelty charges, 700 cats corraled | StAugustine.com.