You read the magazine adds or watch the three-minute infomercials by the ASPCA and HSUS about the terrible plight of abused animals across our country, and then the request for money.
Then you see the newspaper article and news reports on Channels 6, 7, 9 etc., about a local non-profit rescuer who had 90 or 150 or even 400 cats who were all rescued from deplorable conditions by the City Animal Services along with the local or national ASPCA or HSUS. The reporter is told that the number of animals just got out of hand and the owner just wasn’t able to take care of the animals anymore.
He or she is shown in handcuffs on the grass in front of the house while cameras show 20 people with cat carriers, cages and dog catch poles trying to capture 150 cats or dogs, running to hide from these invading strangers. You here how the person will be charged with animal cruelty or felony animal neglect, and maybe will receive mental health treatment for “hoarder” behaviors.
Daily News Photo of Muffin Being Rescued by Animal Services
There is a scam involved, and it is all about making money for the raiders called rescuers, for the ASPCA, HSUS who make publicity by the raid, make the rescuer out to be a horrible person, the animals are all sick, etc., and many needed to be killed because they are not adoptable.
They also make money when the advertise the raid and say they need donations to house, rehabilitate and place these animals in homes.
They also make money from the rescuer who has had their animals seized, because they are charged $20-$25/day for each animal seized for their care, feeding and medical care until the owner releases ownership to the agency, who then can legally put them up for adoption.
But if an owner waits 60 days before he or she turns ownership over to them, they are running up a bill at a rate of $3000-$4000 a day, to care for the animals ASPCA seized, which is probably five to eight times as much as the rescuer was spending a day for the same care.
I have seen this over and over, where the rescuer loses his or her house to pay off a $400,000 bill from HSUS or ASPCA for care of the seized animals.
I understand that the amount charged to Craig, the owner of Caboodles by the ASPCA was $700,000. That was the deal worked out between the judge and the prosecutor.
Now listen to this, in Los Angeles, the City Prosecutor, Steve Cooley, was once on the Board of Director of the Los Angeles ASPCA, and who determined the amount of money to be paid to the ASPCA by the rescuer for restitution while he was still on their board. That person usually had to sell the house and property the cats had been housed in to pay the penalty and restitution, including court fees, penalty and restitution, or else it is simplely seized by the courts and then sold.
This kind of thing happens all over the country to real rescuers, who are usually extremely vulnerable due to lack of funds for a legal defense as well as having courts and prosecutors working together to get money for the raiders, because persons or properties that have a lot of animals, even well-cared for, and kept inside, are targets for other animal rescuers who may not like the persecuted rescuer, and report them for animal neglect or abuse, and who are also fighting for donations from the same local base of donors.
The terrible thing is that usually 1/3 of the animals are killed either during the hunt-down and trapping, or in the medical evaluation done later that day or the next, where having a cold means not 10 days of an antibiotic treatment, but instant death as diseased, or as being “irremediably suffering,” which is nonsense, as upper respiratory infection are extremely common in all City shelters.
For those who want to know more, just look at my other blog, http://laanimalwatch.blogspot.com, and read the story of Ron Mason and his cats. http://laanimalwatch.blogspot.com/2007/10/overview-of-mason-case.html#uds-search-results
Finally, the ASPCA/HSUS/City get a final dip in the cash drawer when they “sell” the cat or dog to the public to be placed in a private home. Usual adoption fees run anywhere from $75 to $150. Let us say of the 150 animals that the raiders impounded, they kill the 50 least adoptable, the old, the skinny, the ones missing an eye, a leg or a tail, or who have terrible dental problems. That leaves 100 very adoptable animals, who, at $100 each, brings in an additional $10,000.
If a larger rescue such as Caboodles is raided, say of their 700 cats, they kill 200 and adopt out 500 at $100/each for a total of $50,000 for an inventory of animals they paid nothing for. It is like a manufacturer selling a toy where the raw material costs nothing, they just steal it legally.
So, it goes like this: Someone complains about a rescuer. City, County, ASPCA or someone else comes out to inspect the property. They find animal neglect and that the owner has exceeded the number of cats allowed on the premise without a kennel license (Which is impossible to get in a residential area.).
They give orders to reduce the number.
Then they raid unexpectedly, usually just before a deadline to reduce the number of animals is due so as to catch the rescuer with the maximum number on the property.
They heavily advertise and publicize the raid and talk about the deplorable conditions they found whether deplorable or not.
They then catch as many cats as they can, and they never get all, lock up the property tightly and get rid of all the cat food and water, cut holes in the fences to let the remaining animals fend for themselves.
Lock up and charge the owner with felony neglect of felony abuse, leaving him in jail for days or weeks without the remaining animals being fed, and as in the case of Caboodles, four are found dead from starvation when Craig got back four weeks later.
Get TV, radio and newspaper spots about the raid and need for public donations to car for these free-to-them animal inventory.
Kill 1/3 of the least adoptable animals for a more sellable inventory so that they do not have to take care of the old and sick themselves that would not be adopted.
Charge the owner a hefty fees for “care” for the animals, and court fees plus any penalty amounts, and then put the owner on probation for three years, during which time he or she is not allowed to have any animals. In the meantime, they seize the owner’s property to pay for the care fees, court fees, and penalty amount.
Finally, the animals are adopted out to the public at $100+ each. Many they can’t or don’t adopt themselves are transferred to other private or municipal shelters where the stock may be culled again before any are adopted.
The photo of Muffin on this post are from the Los Angeles Daily News, which accompanied a raid on my friend Ron Mason in September, 2007. Of the 52 cats impound, 25 were killed as “irredeemably suffering.”
Ron’s story ended very differently because I interceded and then others came forward to reveal the sordid details of how the system works in Los Angeles.
However, ending this practice nationwide would be very difficult because it involves a rigged legal system working with HSUS/ASPCA and others, purely on a profit basis.
I don’t disagree that there may have been neglect in a majority of the cases, but the amount of neglect is nothing compared to the killing those animals suffer within days after the raid, and then to pine away in City or ASPCA shelters over the next six months in small cages until and if they are adopted or killed. Public shelters only need keep an animal for four days in California before killing them. In LA City, about 22,000 are killed each year, and LA County kills another 42,000+.