Hundreds of Cats Seized from Florida Sanctuary

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

[UPDATE] HIGH SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) --June 9, 2011 7:40am

Officials have seized another 180 cats from a cat sanctuary in High Springs, bringing the total to 697 rescued felines.

The latest batch of ill and emaciated cats taken Wednesday from Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary represents the biggest case of cat hoarding the Humane Society of the United States has ever participated in.

Alachua County Animal Services director David Flagler says his agency is getting calls from people who needed to get rid of their cats and left them at Haven Acres.

He says they thought they were taking their cats to a "county club environment." Flagler says the agency is trying to give former owners a chance to get their cats back.

Haven Acres is owned by Steve and Pennie Lefkowitz.

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HIGH SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) June 8, 2011 --

Hundreds of sick cats have been removed from an overcrowded pet sanctuary in High Springs, Florida.

Authorities seized 517 cats from a north Florida sanctuary during a criminal investigation Tuesday.

The Humane Society of the United States says the rescue at Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary in High Springs is one of the largest cases the agency has ever assisted.

The investigation began about two weeks ago after an animal services worker found a dead cat in a cage and others that appeared to be sick.


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  • by Dale Location: NJ on Jul 7, 2011 at 04:49 PM
    Haven Acres is nothing like Caboodle. I've spent many days there and the cats are happy, healthy, well-fed and cared for. There is NOT mass suffering. Caboodle Ranch: Save the Kitties is misinforming vulnerable people. Improvements are always being made at Caboodle and the staff is terrific. I'll be back to volunteer again.
  • by Dana Johnson Strunk on Jun 9, 2011 at 12:18 PM
    This case is very similar to what's going on at Caboodle Ranch cat sanctuary in Lee, FL. The operator also has a hoarding mentality. I've been there and volunteered and saw numerous cats in extremely poor conditions and filthy living environments. Like Haven Acres, visitors and people dropping off cats get a "guided" tour. They don't see the mass suffering inside some of the buildings. Search FB page called Caboodle Ranch: Save the kitties for more details
    • reply
      by Chris on Jun 15, 2011 at 08:26 AM in reply to Dana Johnson Strunk
      I disagree. The Caboodle Ranch is a wonderful sanctuary. People can't just "drop off" cats. Please don't compare them with the place in this story. Go see for yourself. I have been there and have seen the healthy, happy cats there.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 9, 2011 at 11:13 AM
    so they are gonna rescue all the cats only to kill them later because they have no place to put them i think id rather stick it out longer at the sanctuary
    • reply
      by Dana Strunk on Jun 9, 2011 at 12:13 PM in reply to
      are you serious? you think it is more humane to allow an animal to die a slow suffering death than to be humanely put to sleep. You are sick!
    • reply
      by Dana on Jun 9, 2011 at 12:16 PM in reply to
      are you serious? so you'd rather the cats be caged and die a slow, agonizing death than to humanely put to sleep? that's sick.
  • by Danu Location: Tally on Jun 9, 2011 at 08:32 AM
    What is going to happen to the cats/kittens taken? Are they going to be fostered and potentially adopted out?
  • by Sad Location: Tallahassee on Jun 9, 2011 at 06:20 AM
    I had read an article about this place last year and thought it was admirable that they would take in so many cats. They depended a lot on donations from people for the food & medicine for the cats. I imagine that with the economy being like it is and people struggling to put food on their family's table, that donations are down. I'm sure that the people that ran that place had the best of intentions, but the number of cats they were trying to take care of was simply overwhelming. Knowing that noone wanted those cats and that the alternative was an animal shelter where they would most likely be euthanized, I'm sure they were torn as to what would be better for those animals - an animal shelter to live their lives in a cage until they were put down or try to keep them and take care of them as well as they could? They probably should have reached a point where they said "we can't take any more". I don't think that they meant any harm. As an animal lover, I know it's hard to say no.
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