(written by Caboodle legal help)
Since the raid on Caboodle Ranch in February, over 600 cats and two dogs have been held in cages in a temporary animal shelter in Jacksonville, Florida. Please help us try to return the Caboodles to their happy life at the Ranch and to the loving arms of Craig Grant. If we are to prevail, supporters of the Ranch must raise $20,000 by July 15.
Here’s an update on what has happened and why this money is so important:
Setback in the trial court. -- On June 22, 2012, the Madison County Court surprised Ranch supporters by issuing an order in the civil case to give full ownership and control of all of the Caboodle cats, as well as the two dogs, to the Sheriff of Madison County. Under the order, the Sheriff can dispose of them as he sees fit. He could sell the animals (vivisection possible), try to have them adopted (not easy with feral, old, or sick cats), or leave their fates to the ASPCA, which is managing the shelter.
“Evidence” claim exposed as a sham. -- The order noted that “the Caboodle animals are currently under the control of the court in the criminal case” and that they therefore “shall not be released to the Sheriff until and unless the court, in the criminal case, or the State’s attorney, in the criminal case, authorizes such release.” As most of you know, the short deadlines provided by law in the civil case for release of the cats have been circumvented, these many months, by the claim that the cats are “evidence” that must be preserved for the criminal case. Yet, almost immediately after Judge Parker’s order, the State’s attorney released all the cats to the custody of the Sheriff – clearly exposing the “evidence” excuse as a sham. And the ASPCA started cranking up its machinery for “disposing” of the animals.
The appeal, stay, and illegal bond. -- Caboodle Ranch quickly filed a Notice of Appeal and asked for a stay of the order. A stay was granted by Judge Parker – but only until 3:00 pm on Monday, July 16, 2012. Under Judge Parker’s order, the stay will automatically dissolve at that time unless Caboodle Ranch posts a bond of $1.8 million to cover the expenses incurred by the ASPCA.
This absurdly high bond is being demanded by a mere county court – the very lowest court in the Florida court hierarchy which normally deals with small claims, parking tickets and littering. By law, county courts are not allowed to consider any case in which the amount in controversy exceeds $15,000!
Motion to reduce the bond. -- This morning, Caboodle Ranch has filed a motion to request reduction of the bond to an amount not greater than $15,000. If the motion is granted, we will still need to come up with the new amount, which could well be $15,000, by July 16.
Transcripts for appeal. -- Also, to move ahead with the appeal, we’ll need to pay for transcripts from the trial. They are not cheap. Transcripts are prepared by private businesses (court reporters), not by court staff, and they charge nearly $5 a page. They’ve given us an estimate of nearly $5,000 for the transcripts we need. And we’ll need to cough up at least half of the final cost by July 19. If we don’t have a transcript, we won’t have an appeal. It’s that simple.
Pro bono attorneys for the appeal. -- Just as important, two more attorneys have offered to join the team and to work on the appeal, free of charge, IF we can get the bond reduced and keep the stay in place. They are willing to invest hundreds of hours in this effort – whatever it takes to get the job done. Why? We asked and got this answer:
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Three-legged cat killed --We heard testimony at the civil court hearing that Ms. Plume, the ranch’s only three-legged cat, had already been killed in the hands of the ASPCA. Why, we do not know. There was nothing wrong with her, except perhaps that she was “unadoptable” because most people don’t want a three-legged cat. Well, we loved her and wanted her. That’s what Caboodle Ranch was for.
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So we must raise $20,000 NOW. If we fail to do so, the opportunity to save hundreds of lives and reunite Craig and his cats may be gone.
To those who have already helped us in our fight, thank you. To others who have been waiting for the right moment to contribute, this is it. We must do everything humanly possible to prevent the Caboodle Ranch cats from being sold or killed.
Craig, his family, the ranch fans, and the wonderful Caboodles appreciate your donation. We are grateful for any amount and will use it to keep the ranch in the fight. Thank you.
Craig, and Caboodle supporters.
PS: Please post this plea on your Facebook pages, Twitter, Pinterest, or email personal directory. With your help, we have a second chance. Public sentiment is on our side, in the United States, Europe, China and Japan. Help us bring Tommy, Meatball, Mario and the other wonderful Caboodle cats back home to their Papa.