A WALK IN THE WOODS
I decided to take a walk yesterday afternoon through the woods and see a distant neighbor. It's a pretty walk through the pine trees. I passed by Buddy's hangout. I wrote about Buddy some years back, a 'sturdy' built black cat, a good friend of mine. If I didn't see him after a few days, me and my posse of a dozen cats would take a walk as we did many times and do a sort of 'search and rescue' mission looking for a missing cat.
I'd call "Buddy! Buddy!" I knew about where to find him. A loud yell back from him was wonderful to hear and we'd make our way toward each other. Yesterday, I walked alone. I hoped to see a stray along the way. I decided to yell out Buddy! when I neared his distant hangout. No reply as expected, I started to cry as I now am writing this. My pain runs deep.
I got to the neighbor lady's house. This is the 5th neighbor I've talked to since The Raid, she said what was done was so wrong and that everyone believes this. She's taken in a few of my cats over the years, they are now her personal pets. She pointed out a young tuxedo cat that showed up after the raid. I didn't remember the cat but was happy to see he had found safety with her. She told me the little tux enjoys it there and speaks to her. This cat also loves the grandchild. The little kid can just about sit on the cat and it doesn't mind at all, she said.
Another neighbor there has had one of my cats for three years. Back then she had heard a scratching at her back door, she opened it the door and a cat walked in and there it stayed! She was so amused she adopted him..or did he adopt her? My neighbors weren't all bad, just one that I know of, he will get his one day.
MARKY AND GINGER
I've been looking through a few old note pads of some stories I've written in the past, I will tell you of two cats in a moment, but first I will humor you.....
There was some ice in Path Kitty's water bowl a few mornings ago, just to show you how cold it was and can be. The 'sick ward' has a bathroom that I use. I had to shut off the power to this trailer to save money. I tell you what, that toilet seat is COLD! But by afternoon the place had warmed up and I can wash up...
Marky and Ginger, a short hair tuxedo cat with a perfect black mustache, looking like it was drawn on with a felt tip marker. The other, Ginger, is a pretty long haired torti girl. A while back, I got a call from a lady who told me her husband had died and she wanted to travel but she needed a home for his 2 cats. I was the only option.
They were so beautiful, very well cared for. I had a seperate kennel in one of the barns, I put them in it together. They were so scared, and missing their person. I would sit with them each afternoon and evening telling them it will be okay and they will love their new home. I always had to watch new arrivals to make sure they were adjusting and eating and drinking. Marky wanted to hide under the cat bed. After about a month, they had made their adjustment. When I let them out they didn't want anything to do with me those little stinkers.
Most of the time a will look around for a spot they like, and it's my job to find that spot to make sure they were okay. A few weeks passed, I spotted Ginger eating from a plate of wet food outside the sick ward, one of six feeding stations. Now to find Marky. Three weeks, four weeks, then I spotted him! He took one look at me and turned around running up the trail as fast as his little body could take him. But he's been spotted and he's fine.
After a few months, I found that they were both together and made their home in the red barn, so I would put their plates of wet food there each day. They would wait until I was leaving to eat, with one eye on me and one eye on their plate!
Ginger eventually became more daring, coming toward me at arms length, and then I finally got to touch her and pet her again. Marky was a problem, 10-20-30 feet away, I just kept talking to him and calling him by his name. Funny, each day when I put out their wet food those two watch me at a distance, they expected me to put their plates by their buliding. I did, I was trained well.
Marky and I eventually grew very close. When I head up to the back kennels I see him waiting for me . One day day as I returned from the kennels, walking down Poison Ivy path, Marky was ahead of me and walked the whole length of the path making his way through the trees. I still can't figure out how he knew to stay on the path.
I was handing out Temptations cat treats and was sitting ont he porch of the barn, when Marky walked over to me and bumped his head against my knees, I was accepted as his friend. Marky made the trips to the kennels everyday and after awhile he wanted to be carried and snuggled on the way back. He gives me head butts and makes "biscuits" (where his paws are stretching in and out) all the way.
I enjoy telling you of these two, it's good to remember them through my stories.
- Current Mood:working
Things are turning around for us folks. Yes, it may be baby steps but the very fact that Caboodle Ranch WILL NOT give up the fight for what is right, is finally starting to pay off. If you read the Judge’s ruling on the ASPCA Cost Hearing, it may seem a bit confusing. Fortunately, our lawyer friend that has been a crucial part in uncovering the wrong doings of the ASPCA, made things clearer for us. Here is an excerpt from him:
“ Paragraph 2 of the findings is sweepingly broad. Notice the difference between Paragraph 3. In it, it says there was no agency relationship for purposes of the animal cruelty statute, but paragraph 2 says there was no relationship of any kind. If paragraph 2 stands, it seems that the ASPCA committed trespass and conversion (theft essentially) when its people entered Caboodle Ranch’s land and took Caboodle Ranch’s cats and continued to hold them.
Since the ASPCA actually participated in the proceeding that produced this ruling, they would normally be precluded (by “collateral estoppel”) from challenging the factual finding in paragraph 2 in a subsequent lawsuit brought against them by Caboodle Ranch for damages. Judge Parker might as well have painted a bull’s eye on the ASPCA’s back. “
The Prosecution is putting together “an offer” soon. One could assume they are feeling the weight of the real meaning the Judge’s ruling and are shaking in their boots. They will not be able to prove “animal cruelty” , especially with all the contrary evidence that Caboodle’s lawyer has.
Our hope, is that in the end, this will mean that Craig and Caboodle Ranch will have their reputation restored and that the ASPCA will be under extreme scrutiny of their actions and expenditures. We also hope that there will be a group that steps in to ‘step up’ the guidelines and fairness for small rescues and shelters all across the
Please pay close attention to the news of late. Recently the ASPCA has been making headlines, and not good ones. The truth is coming out. The ASPCA has recently had to award a circus almost 10 million dollars for wrongful actions. They have also been in the news for abuse of the animals they “rescued” that were displaced from the devastating storm
After all that has been done to Craig and the cats, and the ranch, he still has to prepare for the criminal trial. There is not a date set as of yet. We are still holding out hope that someone with a brain cell in that courthouse will drop the case and see that it is wrong and a total waste of money and time, and let Craig get on with his life. Pick up the pieces and try to get through his losses.
It’s hard to put into words what everyone has gone through this year. Some words that come to mind right away are “devastation” , “heartbreak”, “soul shattering grief”. And still, those don’t seem to cover the loss and the pain that Craig, staff and supporters…and most of all the caboodle cats, have gone through.
What was once such a beautiful joyous and magical place for homeless cats, is now deserted fields of tall grass and abandoned adorable cat houses. Without recapping everything that happened on that horrid day in Febraury 2012, Caboodle Ranch has been dragged through the mud, it’s reputation all but destroyed and the man that created the safe haven along with it.
Craig has never claimed to be perfect or a saint. But he accomplished what others dream about, for over 11 years. Using his creative mind, his contracting background and skills, he created a slice of Heaven for cats that had no where else to go. And in the recent year and a half, it took just a few folks who didn’t like what he was doing, to make complaints, many times and under many different names to authorities, to have the ranch scrutinized and eventually raided, removing all the beloved caboodles, and shut down.
As a veteran, Craig has never experienced the kind of harsh unjust treatment he did that day. Being dragged at gunpoint, and with a gun to his head, while he carried a sack of cat litter on his shoulder, starting his daily chores at 8am. He was taken in handcuffs like he was notorious criminal and a bail set for him at 250,000.00, the equivalent bond set for sex offenders and murders. And what was he? A man of 64 years, that wanted to save cats that had no where to go. A man who for 11 years, lived happily, left alone with his cats, to live in the woods quietly, peacefully, caring for his little friends. Making sure they were safe, warm (or cool) and always had a full belly.
Without ever coming to the ranch, or even meeting Craig, the Sheriff chose to sign an agreement to let PETA and the ASPCA raid the ranch and take all the cats (and the two dogs), based solely on the lies and fabricated photos and stories of a few “haters”. Destroying one mans dream, the lives of hundreds of once happy content cats and the hopes and dreams of tens of thousands of supporters of the ranch who wholeheartedly believed in what he was accomplishing. Those supporters have increased since that fateful day and Craig rallies on with the legal fight for his reputation, and for the ability to once again help save cats from dying on the streets or being put to sleep merely because they exist.
Recently, the judge ruled in favor of Caboodle Ranch in the ASPCA’s attempt to be “reimbursed” for their expenses involving the raid and “care” of the cats. The ASPCA’s detailed expense statement was well over 1 million dollars. The money they spent “for” caboodle ranch cats, was ALREADY donated money by millions of people who once believed in their gallant efforts to help animals, so it was NOT money that would or could be “reimbursed”. But the main deciding factor was that the ASPCA and the Sheriff’s dept did not follow legal protocol in order to have a case. The expense statement the ASPCA turned in was the most deplorable document anyone could behold. Listing “plumbing”, “carpet cleaning”, “chocolates for the ladies”, “lunch at Panera’s for 100+” (totaling in over 1200.00) or staying at resort hotels and 400 thousand dollars in flights and rental cars and the list of inexcusable actions goes on and on. These people were on a vacation not a mission to help the cats. This statement in full can be viewed at:
So, where do we stand now? We are awaiting word of when the criminal trial will be held. Yes, they want to destroy what is left of Craig by telling the world he is an animal abuser and should be able to ever have a pet or ever start another sanctuary. We are depleted of finances, which most of you already know. We continue to need financial support for both the legal fees for the trial, for the remaining veterinary bill (they claim Craig never did adequate medical care, but we now have ALL documents showing the tens of thousands of dollars specifically spent for cat medicine, cat vet care etc).
If you can contribute to the veterinary bill, you can send payments directly to:
Dr. John Lewis at Madison Veterinary Clinic
119 Southwest Old US 90 Madison, FL 32340
Otherwise, we ARE still a registered charitable organization, 501 © 3, and you can send your tax deductible donations to”
Caboodle Ranch, Inc
P.O. Box 299
Ponte Vedra Bch, FL 32004
Thank you so very much for standing by our side through this extremely trying time. We are praying for a Happier New Year for everyone and every cat…
I’ll start you off with some humor.
At 4:30 I had to get up to use the bathroom, trying not to disturb Spinks who was asleep on the foot of the recliner. I climb over the arm of the chair; she’s sound asleep. If I had sat straight up she’d jump onto the floor. Getting back into the recliner, I back over the arm, but this time I fell back and the chair went over backwards. Spinks was catapulted through the air. I was fine. A little while later, Spinks came right up onto my chest and asked, What was that all about?
Now down to business.
The ranch is not a good place for me to spend my days. I start my day having coffee and pop tarts on the front porch of the big barn. But like this morning I looked over at a trailer in the woods, and no Toot was to be found. She would be on the roof right now laying on a bed of pine needles in the shade. Like many of my cats, just enjoying life. Many had their favorite hangouts, and I knew where to find most. The tree forts are empty… only a little fur on the rough wood around the door ways.
I’ve lost all my motivation; I just don’t want to work around the ranch. With a three day weekend approaching, everyone seems to have plans; happy Walmart shoppers getting supplies for cookouts. I’m trying to think of something I can do to make me happy. Every place I think of going is hours away.
I thought of Disney’s Magic Kingdom and how happy I felt there back about four years ago. Why not? So Saturday morning I grabbed some drinks, fueled up and was on my way. No one wanted to join me, I didn’t let it stop me.
Three long hot, grueling hours I was there. If you’ve never been, it’s the place to go. Main Street USA with nice brightly colored buildings dressed in fall garland and funny-face pumpkins. I felt happiness come over me. An ice cream parlor nearby looked inviting, so I bought a vanilla cone and sat at some tables along the walkway.
So many happy faces passed by. I missed having my kids with me; we were all there when they were young. Two guys passed by with big floppy hats that had Goofy written on them. Maybe I should get one.
It was two years ago this weekend that I had my only vacation in the nine years that I had the ranch, Yet people had a field day with that.
It was a little hot there and without A/C in the truck, I was wearing down. At 7pm I had enough and decided to head to Rob’s house, which is less than two hours away. That’s where I spent the night. Spinks should have a peaceful night and won’t have to peel herself off the wall. As I write this, I look towards the other barn and see Spinks on the railing. Bob Cat should be there too. Who knows where he is now.
My lawyers seem to have more of an interest in me now. I don’t feel I’m just a client. Gary upset me when he said I can always get more cats. They don’t understand that my cats were my best friends. Toot might as well be aunt Toot. I loved her, you just don’t replace her. This place wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that bunch.
In court Jamie stated that I came to him and told him I wanted to start a sanctuary and that I could have as many cats as I wanted. I spent over $250,000 building that nice sanctuary… How can someone just shut me down? I’m a corporation, a charity and registered with the Department of Agriculture allowing me to accept donations.
My cats are considered personal property.
Don’t ask me how proud I am to be an American right now. I’m a veteran. I had a gun held to my head like I’m a criminal. I can’t justify anything that’s happened to me. It’s like that show Locked Up Abroad. I’ve been put through hell.
When I was taken away and locked up, 100’s of people chased my beautiful cats like it was a pig chase. Some were hurt; open wounds I heard in court later. Some people took cats home. Murry, Little “O”… they weren’t at the ASPCA. Many were missing. This is like opening someone’s store and saying take what you want and wreck the place while you are at it.
This is all so troubling; it’s with me day and night. I feel so violated. I don’t know what I'll win now? David is so upset and has a renewed interest. I did give him half the money he asked for Thursday and the transcript which I did pay $4,570.00 for. Thanks for all your help.
I’d like to ask all those 100’s of people that wrote to judge Parker to send some small donations. I can’t live without justice.
The hearing was to determine what ...
In addition to Judge Parker, those in attendance at the hearing were our lawyer, David Collins, Mr Reeves, the county attorney, Mr Lucas, attorney for the ASPCA, and Adam Leath, an ASPCA representative.
When David Collins was questioning Mr Leath about the charges, e.g;, $700,000 for car rentals and $15,000 for pheromones, it became apparent that Mr Leath was not able to fully explain the costs, or provide receipts or any proof that the costs were legitimate. So Judge Parker would coach him with the correct answer. Over and over.
Judge Parker then called the lawyers to the bench for a discussion, after which he announced that because the ASPCA was not well prepared, he would close this hearing, and reschedule another one TO GIVE THE ASPCA MORE TIME TO MAKE ITS CASE. That is unimaginable.
There will be a rehearing. We will probably lose, for obvious reasons, and as a result, we must then appeal to a higher court in a different county, and make our argument that Caboodle Ranch was treated unjustly. Is this America?
Caboodle Ranch supporters. If you are as outraged as I am and as our witnesses at the hearing were, please, write the ASPCA headquarters in NYC. Write to President Ed Sayres, 520 8th Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10018, and tell him what an injustice has just occurred under the ASPCA name. Tell your local newspapers; your television stations. We just received an inquiry from a reporter in POLAND, who wants our story. Look for an investigative reporter; call 20/20, Primetime, 60 Minutes. Flood the Governor’s office with your complaints. This must not stand. Evil must not prevail.
The GOOD news is that we also learned that if we Appeal we will very likely WIN! This means vindication for the cats, the ranch and for Craig! This is HUGE people! Yes, they adopted most the cats out already but winning this Appeal would mean that there will likely be a new law created to prevent this injustice ever happening again to anyone! Here’s what we need: 7500.00. And we need it by Monday the 3rd. Yes, we know, another deadline , another hoop to jump through. The Appeal will be in Tallahassee NOT Madison, by judges that are appointed and have no political agendas!
But this is the final act for fighting for the cats and the ranch! This will literally change the way things are done and FINALLY the truth will be known and all the illegal acts and injustices done to the cats, ranch and to Craig will be out! If we are meant to be the poster child for this nightmare to never happen again to anyone or any shelter then so be it! This will likely affect the way PETA and the ASPCA conduct “business” as well. Help us Appeal and make Caboodle Ranch go down in history for the place that changed the laws for Animal Rescues and shelters!
This Appeal will also enable Caboodle Ranch to start over and start saving lives again. No, it will NOT be in Madison Florida! But it will BE! Put on your fighting gloves people, we have an amazing fight ahead of us!!!!!
Use this link to donate today!!!!
Craig gets a visit from Tabby last weekend where he got much needed kitty hugs. The way Tabby looks at Craig and places his paw on his leg is pure love and trust...
The once highly praised and beautiful sanctuary for cats becomes a ghost town, a virtual abandoned safe haven for the cats that once lived here. Gone are the 'happy tails' and curious faces that passed through this path just 5 months ago. Gone are the playful antics of hundreds of saved cats that used to run up trees, play in the tall grass or bat a bizzy ball around. When PETA and the ASPCA were contacted by "haters" of the ranch, they quickly came down to do their well known damage. The job they do best, destroying any chance that these cats had at a safe and peacceful life. A life they were already living at the ranch, some for 11 years. But these activists groups had it in their head to (as an ASPCA officer told us) "Seize first, investigate later". And with this 'policy' they turned the ranch upside down for 5 days and nights, in the rain, chasing down and terrorizing and trapping all the cats that just that Monday morning were safe in their beds enjoying a sunny sleepy morning.
After they took the caboodle cats aways to the Jacksonville ASPCA for their "rescue and treatment", the onslaught of false accusations, lies and staged photos came to the court in order to shame the man who built this oasis and saved over a thousand cats over the years. These cats had no where else to go. There were no other no kill shelters that could take them. They came to the ranch from all over the US and other countries. But that did not matter to the ASPCA or PETA. They continued to drag Craig Grant and its workers through the mud telling everyone that they were horrible people and cruel to boot. The "haters" made it their mission "to destroy Craig Grant and Caboodle Ranch" and despite the most gallant of efforts and thousands of dollars in legal fees, they succeeded. The ASPCA recently held an adoption event on August 11th and 12th. Succeeding in adopting out only about 300 cats of the 650+ that were taken away. So what's the next step? More adoption events? A court order AT LEAST prevents them from euthanizing any of the remaining cats. But that does little to ease the bone marrow deep grief that Craig Grant, the workers and suporters feel.
Craig is a broken man. Not a man that has given up, but a man who has had his 'family' taken from him, his dream destroyed, his ranch demolished after putting 250K into it to make it a magical joyful place for the cats. He is a man that has been brutally beaten down at every turn for the mere fact that he wanted to make a difference and give people an alternative to euthanasia or having a cat live forever in a cage. The level of injustice that has been done to this man, this ranch and most of all the cats is an atrocity to the so called legal system. In a court order, Judge Parker said that Criag will have his personal cats returned to him. He has over 12 personal cats and the two Great Pyranese that were the watch dogs. The judge only mentioned 5 cats. So why return his cats if this man is cruel and neglectful in the care and treatment of animals? Exactly. The county of Madison had an agenda that involved closing the ranch altogether and went about it so corruptly it's a wonder that Dateline or 20/20 hasn't been here yet to investigate. And we hope they DO come. This cannot happen again. Every rescue and every shelter and every person out there that is trying to save lives, to make a difference will be next, because PETA and the ASPCA feel and are treated, as if they are above the law.
Someone has to step up and stop this insanity. These precious cats were happy. And the people behind the events that have taken place from February 27th 2012 to present will be held accountable, eventually, for their atrocious actions.
The angel "Tanya" that has watched over the caboodles for several years, stands alone in a deserted "GingerBread Lane", where the cats once strolled along playing and choosing one of the many whimsical cat houses to take their naps in. This angel seems to be crying as she prays over all their little souls now.
The now abandoned GingerBread Lane, with a lone cat walking along looking for all his friends. The ASPCA literally left some cats at the ranch for dead. They overturned, emptied and locked up the dry food feeders and water bowls so that no one left behind could eat or survive. They cut open the fence and said "so any left behiind can get out and fend for themselves". It took Craig 3 weeks to be able to get back to the ranch, in that time 4 cats that had "survived" the raid starved to death and Craig found them trying to get into one of the many shelters that were either locked up or destroyed. Now why is THIS action not considered "cruelty"? Why are the ASPCA or PETA not held accountable for letting these poor cats starve to death? Since then Craig has managed to adopt out any remaining cats, 20 total, including the cat seen in this photo. And yet HE was accused of 'still having cats at the ranch'....no, the ASPCA left them there, for dead, never returned, never took any measures what so ever to ensure any that they could not catch were cared for or watched out for.
It is a hope against all odds that Caboodle Ranch will be able to ressurect itself and start anew, save more lives. But all of the legal issues are STILL not done and it has to be determined if they will allow the ranch to start again SOMEWHERE ELSE. The very first thing will be to relocate, which we are sure the county will be happy to hear. If everything was so horrid at the ranch, (and the sherriff only went by the words of haters), why didn't he ever once come to the ranch himself or personally meet with Craig Grant, and see for himself ?
With legal fees still in the thousands, the ranch still needs financial support. But what Craig and the cats that were adopted out and the ones that remain (and the dogs!) need most are your prayers. Prayers that SOMEONE out there will indeed investigate this case and make justice prevail. Make us believe in a legal system that is supposed to be there to protect our rights, not find 'loop holes' to destroy them. We don't want revenge, for revenge is unGodly, we want justice, we want the truth to be heard, we want Craig Grant, all the workers and all the caboodles past, present and future to be vindicated and assured that this will never happen again to us or anyone else.
At this time, we ask that no more communications be sent to him. Our message has been received and at this time the judge is working on all of the paperwork that has been presented by our legal team.
Thanks so much and please keep us in your thoughts and prayers! We love you all very much!
We are continuing the fight to get all the Caboodles home where they belong, but we need your support to do it. Please help by making a donation today!
For more photos of Caboodle Ranch, visit the photo gallery here.
For a collection of videos, visit the Caboodle Ranch website and/or the Madison Florida Voice website.