Sometimes those who set about to save animals don’t have what it takes to run a rescue. Sometimes, a rescuer’s underlying motives or mental status are suspect. Sometimes, the best of intentions hit a serious snag. Regardless, when rescuers fail to deliver on their mission – it’s the animals that suffer.
|Courtesy of Purr Photography|
Take the recent nightmare at Caboodle Ranch. Nine years ago, Craig Grant bought property and began collecting stray and abandoned cats. He built an adorable sanctuary for homeless cats. Like a little village, small houses dotted the large property in Florida where the cats had free roam. Finances apparently became an impediment to properly caring for them.
In late February of this year, the ASPCA seized over 700 cats from Caboodle Ranch – and because so many of these felines were sick, showing signs of neglect, Grant now faces charges of cruelty.
Grant, and those speaking on his behalf, insist the picture was quite different than what PETA and the ASPCA have made it out to be – and that the sick cats photographed were in fact recent residents of the property’s “sick ward” (and thus obviously sick, but not neglected).
One has to wonder, though, that if no cat was ever allowed the possibility of adoption, of ever leaving this sanctuary, if Grant was truly clear-headed in his considerations of his feline charges. And even with volunteers helping, hundreds of cats adds up to an enormous responsibility that could too easily become out of control.
The sheer number of animals involved at Caboodle Ranch is an extreme example of what many rescuers ultimately wrestle with. What may begin as a sincere effort to take positive action out of concern for unfortunate animals, can lead all too easily to a state of becoming overwhelmed, to accusations of hoarding or worse yet, neglect or abuse.
How often is someone who’s charged with such offenses quoted as saying they just wanted to help the animals? When have you not heard of a hoarder who loves the animals they amassed?
A couple of weeks ago, a local rescue group flaunted a severe lack of concern for an injured cat, in my opinion. Many rescues secure a booth at the Chicago Pet Expo, a large and popular event for pet lovers, and many showcase a few of their pets in need of adoption.
This particular rescue, however, somehow thought it would be great for fundraising to bring along an injured cat they’d rescued – before it was treated for its injuries!
At this large convention, with throngs of people, activities, and even other pets – this group was showing off their latest “critical condition” rescued casualty. The cat had been hit by a car, suffered a broken pelvis, and had not yet been treated. The cat was dirty, cowering in a carrier. It was explained that it hadn’t been cleaned because the vet recommended not moving it until after surgery.
I dare anyone to explain to me how a cat was loaded into a carrier, transported to the Expo, then to the booth – without “moving” it.
If you’re wondering – yep, people were allowed to pet this injured cat, with a warning that it was dirty. This is apparently how this rescue group figures they can garner donations. Looking over their website, I have to say I got nauseous. Pompous, righteous, arrogant, know-it-all, focused on $$$ — and self-promoting of the founder. That’s what I saw.
Did these people begin with good intentions toward cats in need? I assume so. There’s no way I’d describe the rescue as such now, though. Sadly, your average person looking to either adopt from or contribute to a worthy cause might very well be impressed by the hype on this site.
I was coping with the pain of a broken wrist when my friend told me, horrified, what she’d witnessed that day at the Expo. You can imagine how much I could relate to that poor cat. The good news is that another friend approached the rescue and, in no uncertain terms, admonished them for their treatment of the cat. It was taken away, and I pray it’s received proper care and is now doing well.
This is from that rescue organization’s site:
The animal’s health and welfare is first attended to; later, we may tell its story in order to ask for donations. Never, ever, would we risk the safety or comfort of a dog or cat for the purposes of raising funds. Never.
I’m proud to be a member of Almost Home Foundation, and very grateful for the smart leadership that has kept the organization on course to successfully assist so many homeless pets. I only wish all rescuers used the same business-like (and sane) approach.
Those who choose to donate should carefully screen the financial status of a rescue, in addition to the stated intentions and beliefs about animal welfare. A well-run rescue will ultimately have a greater impact; your donations will be put to best use.
And we who work in rescue need to beware of taking ourselves too seriously, thinking too much of ourselves, and from that causing harm to those we purport to help. In other words, do it right or don’t do it at all.
It’s Blog the Change for Animals – click on the image to enjoy a collection of ideas on how to effect change for our animal friends!