The Terrible Truth About Some ASPCA/HSUS Rescues, such as on Caboodle

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

What you don’t see is what happens next, nor do you know of the organized corruption involved by the ASPCA, HSUS, the local city/county Animal Services, and the prosecutors.

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,, and read the story of Ron Mason and his cats.

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+.


Betty Schueler said...

I think there is a lot of truth to what you are saying. Our local shelter has problems with both URIs and fungal infections. They can get away with it because they are part of the local government. If a rescuer had the same problems the animals would be forcibly removed as you have stated. I never did see the "sick" animals, in the videos of the Caboodle Ranch seizure. They all looked like healthy, happy cats to me. You would have thought they would have taken extensive videos of the sick animals to prove why they needed to raid the ranch. I wasn't there, so I don't know what the situation really was, but I know that because PETA was involved, any evidence would be suspect to me.

Gregory Pollock said...

Yeah, Mad is ALL about the animals, as long as the "animals" are green and have pictures of presidents on them. She's a Liawyer. Why don't you have Steven spread some more "gossip" around town.

Really is that so?

Gregory Pollock

Tim Nixon said...

I read online that the Lancaster Animal Control Shelter seized animals because it was paid $4500 to silent the alleged owner. That person has denied owning an animals but the DA says she had a moral responsibility to provide the basic necessities such as water and food. 2 testimony one from a woman who is convicted on numerous fraud charges who advertised on Craigslist as a housekeeper and a Sgt. from the Lancaster Animal Control. The convict in handcuffs testified that the alleged owner had hired and paid her $2000 to clean a property that had animals on it. She went to the Animal Control on the very first day because she says she saw animals without food or water. The alleged owner published online phone text messages from the convict and several members of her family who had repeatedly threated acts of violence and contacting animal control because they wanted more money. Animal Control Sgt. testified the cats were ill with 12 different diseases she couldn't determine how old the 12 she examined were but that they appeared skinny. 2 expert witnesses hired by the alleged owner says that sick cats can appear skinny even if food is provided. The alleged owner provided receipts for food she bought for the animals as well as vet receipts and their reports demonstrating the animals were fed and if they needed medical attention they received it. The Sgt. testified she had destroyed the animals after having them for 3 days. Employees of this facility got in touch with the alleged owner and provided her with images of what appears to be dead dogs they claim were shot with a gun while they were in cages at their facility. Video reports of this same shelter show animals inside cages at this facility with no water and food, looking frail and when the cameraman said something to one of the staff they reacted with indifference. The hardest thing as far as working with animals ... is to explain to people that, in order to prosecute someone successfully, you have to prove intent. It’s difficult to prove that someone did something intentionally to harm an animal.

It’s also necessary to prove the animal has been mistreated in some way. Just because you see a skinny cat or empty bowl you can’t walk in and seize animals. In this case if we were to believe the testimony of these 2 witnesses if the Sgt. really believed the animals were in gave danger meaning being tortured and killed they had an obligation to go in at that moment and seize animals. Instead they waited a month to execute a raid, why wait so long?

We have to tread those waters carefully, we also have to watch that, when shelters are contacted about animal cruelty, it’s not just someone being vindictive or having their own agenda.

A humane officer also can’t march onto someone’s property and take an animal that seems to be in distress, she noted.

The only way that can happen is if the animal is in imminent danger and on the brink of death. People have rights, and pets are considered property. We have to respect that. If the animals seized by Lancaster Animal Control were in imminent danger then why wait a month to do something?

Issues of animal cruelty aren’t always obvious, Nields said — it’s not just someone beating an animal or keeping one in a tiny cage.

For instance, a dog that is kept outside needs constant access to water and shelter.

But what seems like cruelty to one person might not be cruelty under the law. We, as pet owners who love our animals unconditionally, want to give them 5-star hotel accommodations. Others just give them the minimum care — it might be all they can afford.

We have to follow the law, not our opinions that might not be the way we would take care of an animal, but as long as it’s within the guidelines of the law, there’s not much we can do.