ASPCA Applauds Florida Court Decision Placing Custody of Animals Seized From Caboodle Ranch, Inc. With Madison County Sheriff

Hundreds of ASPCA responders providing extensive care for animals in a temporary shelter since February
June 26, 2012

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) applauds the decision of the County Court, Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Fla., ordering the animals seized from Caboodle Ranch, Inc. (“Caboodle”) on February 27, 2012, as part of a criminal animal cruelty investigation, to be remanded to the custody of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.  The Court stripped Caboodle, a Fla. not-for-profit corporation, of all right, title or interest in the animals seized from its facility in February and prohibited Caboodle from possessing other animals.  

The ASPCA has managed the sheltering of the hundreds of animals (almost all cats) removed from the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions at Caboodle in Lee, Fla., approximately 64 miles east of Tallahassee, for the past four months. 

“We are pleased that the Court so strongly affirmed what we knew to be true from our work on this case—that Caboodle has not provided adequate care for the animals in the past and is not fit to do so in the future,” said Stacy Wolf, vice president of the ASPCA. 

“The Court’s decision has the best interest of the animals at heart,” said Tim Rickey, senior director of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response team.  “As the Court noted, cats at Caboodle lived in filth; many were sick and in pain; hundreds of ASPCA responders have made an extraordinary effort to care for these cats over the past four months in order to bring them back to a basic level of health. Our hope is that we will soon be able to help them find the homes, special adoption arrangements or colonies they so richly deserve.” 

Among some of the Court’s findings:

  • The evidence demonstrated “clearly and convincingly, that the Caboodle animals were not receiving proper and reasonable care while in the custody of Caboodle.” (Order ¶ 8)
  • “Caboodle’s own veterinarian testified that the number of animals on the Caboodle property on the date of the seizure significantly exceeded the limits he had recommended. . .”  (Order ¶ 10f)
  • Caboodle “depended upon a continuing influx of new animals for its financial survival.  It is more likely than not that Caboodle would continue to fail to abide by the recommendations of its own veterinarian regarding population limitations if the animals were returned.”  (Order ¶ 10g)
  • “Sick animals were not adequately isolated. . .”  (Order ¶ 10j)
  • “. . . Caboodle is clearly and substantially lacking in the resources, ability, skill and (most importantly) willingness to follow expert veterinary advice essential to an operation dedicated to the care of such a large and apparently ever-growing number of animals it seemed intent on sheltering.”  (Order ¶ 11)

The following criminal charges are pending against the founder of Caboodle: one count of felony animal cruelty; three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty; and one count of scheming to defraud (felony).