Tiger Ranch (A Cat Santuary) In Pennsylvania Raided For Neglet On Cats

@pyewacket (43953)
United States
March 16, 2008 9:49pm CST
I was really shocked when I heard this story just now. One of the more famous, well-known pet rescue sanctuaries for cats, known as Tiger Ranch in Pennsylvania was raided on this past Thursday after a seven month investigation of the horrific conditions that existed there. This is a real blow to pet rescuers from many states surrounding the PA area as many had relied on Tiger Ranch to place unwanted cats there...many rescuers had great faith in the owner who claimed that any cat placed at her sanctuary would get the best care going. In fact, I belong to Feral_Cat News, a Yahoo group that often did have dealings with this sanctuary thinking that any cat that went there would have the best of care...what a friggin let down! Here's the entire article (Quote) PITTSBURGH: Animal rescue workers were seeking donations of animal carriers and other supplies to help hundreds of cats rescued from a facility where they had been living in squalid conditions. Officials discovered 600 to 700 cats — many sick and dying — during a raid Thursday at the secluded 29-acre (11.74-hectare) property known as Tiger Ranch. Thousands more are believed to be buried at the site in Tarentum, Pennsylvania, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Pittsburgh. Some 406 "very sick" cats were being treated Sunday at a temporary animal hospital, said Howard Nelson, director of the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which organized the raid. Fifty cats have died since the raid, either because they had to be euthanized or from their illnesses, he said. Fifteen were euthanized at the scene and 105 dead cats were found in freezers, Nelson said. Roughly 100 cats remain on the property and have not yet been captured, he said. The sanctuary's owner, Linda Bruno, also known as Linn Marie, 45, was arraigned Friday on 13 counts of animal cruelty and neglect. She was being held at a county jail. It was not immediately known if she had a lawyer. The raid followed a seven-month investigation in which a former humane officer used a hidden camera to record conditions at the facility, where she volunteered. In a statement, the PSPCA requested donations of newspaper and pet carriers — including rabbit-size carriers and medium-size dog crates — for housing the surviving cats. It asked that donations be dropped off at the Clarion County Humane Society in Shippenville, Pennsylvania. Investigators said the cats were living in filthy conditions in multiple buildings, including one crammed with scores of cats huddled around a portable heater with no clean water and a single food bowl. Animal-rescue groups from several states often turned to the Tiger Ranch, which promised lifetime care for unwanted cats that likely would have been euthanized in overcrowded shelters. As news of the raid spread, horrified rescue groups flooded the SPCA with e-mails and posted frantic notes on Internet message boards wondering what had happened to their animals and how to get them back. "Many, many cats from Georgia went to Tiger Ranch," said Pat Dasenbrock, who works with cat-rescue groups in Atlanta. "A driver took cats by the van load — 50 or 60 of them there — twice a month." They traveled the 700 miles (1,126 kilometers) to Pittsburgh because many adoptable shelter cats in Georgia end up in gas chambers, generally regarded as an inhumane method of euthanizing animals, she said. "We felt so good about Linda," she said. "She told us she adopted 100 cats a weekend and that there was a long list of people waiting to adopt cats up there."..." Here's the article link http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/03/17/america/NA-GEN-US-Animal-Sanctuary-Raid.php Here are other articles related to this http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_557525.html http://www.philly.com/inquirer/breaking/news_breaking/20080315_SPCA_tries_saving_Pittsburgh_shelters_cats.html I think what shocked me...many people here who know of my story of the cat population problem I had that was created by my mother...when I was searching for places to place my cats, many people especially rescuers suggested contacting Tiger Ranch since they trusted the owner....this isn't the first "sanctuary" that was closed down that was one that was recommended to me...there was another in the Comfort,Texas area called "Wild Cat Ranch" that was also later closed down for the same reasons as Tiger Ranch..the REAL eerie part was that I was personally in contact with the owner of Wild Cat Ranch who very charmingly tried to persuade me to send my cats to her...and she charged a fortune for her services, something like $1,000 a year per cat--of course since I didn't have money like that, I declined...but just imagine if I had, had the money and did send my cats there then heard of her place being closed down and the cats seized...she supposedly separated the sick cats (with feline leukemia) from the healthy, which wasn't the case Okay I can see pet rescuers trying to shelter unwanted pets and many do a great, fantastic job of it, but many have pets in their care that are of a reasonable number.....then you come across stories like this, where well meaning rescuers have pets by the hundreds---and I can't help thinking are they REALLY helping or are they just glorified pet hoarders in the guise of being rescuers....in any case this really is a blow to reputable rescuers
8 people like this
15 responses
@polachicago (19143)
• United States
17 Mar 08
This is horrible. She was charging people for talking those cats. Now I see the real story behind. How sad. How someone who claim herself as animal lover could do it? If she didn't have enough money or people to help, why she didn't ask for help? Or she didn't care. After treading all articles, I am wondering why they didn't freeze Tiger Ranch after first month of investigation.
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
18 Mar 08
Never mind after the first month, they should have pressed charges against her the first week of the investigation. As for how she could do this...sounds like she was a pet hoarder and pet hoarders think only THEY can care for the animals and not seek aid or help
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
18 Mar 08
As a PS--she's never been formerly charged herself, but I know this one woman in my neighborhood claiming to be a pet rescuer..bullcrap....she's hoarder...she's been threatened with eviction from her apartment god knows how many times as she keeps cats and dogs..in cages I might add...it is known that animal control will seize the hoard of pets she has...within in months she collects more ..she of course calls it "saving" or rescuing them..on top of that...to make sure the dogs stay quiet she gets them debarked
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Mar 08
How do u get a dog debarked?:( i never herd of any such thing. but that is so freaking cruel:(
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Mar 08
I do not think they are glorified pet hoarders but greedy b*stards who are just scamming good people out of money. I hope this hateful person gets the maximum punishment the law allows.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Mar 08
I agree with both of you. The investigation took way too long. However having had a background in investigations I know you have have to have every detail confirmed before you can take action or you will end up getting sued by a clever lawyer. My dream is to win millions in the lottery and have a well staffed sanctuary for abused and unwanted animals....I know crazy but I can dream..right!?
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
19 Mar 08
No whiteheather..your dream of winning the lottery and setting up a well-staffed animal sanctuary is very admirable...I think a lot of us who love animals would love to do this as well
• United States
19 Mar 08
whiteheather, you and I have the same dream. Maybe one of us will get lucky!
@Aussies2007 (5339)
• Australia
17 Mar 08
I hope you are learning something from this. For every person living in a dream world (like saving feral cats)... there is someone out there ready to exploit people weaknesses and make a dollar out of it. If you really want to do something useful... I have heard shocking reports from Switzerland... where some people steal domestic cats to skin them and make fur coats out of them. Now... if you can do something to stop that practice... that would be a real good cause.
1 person likes this
17 Mar 08
http://www.furisdead.com/feat/ChineseFurFarms/
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
18 Mar 08
Oh, I'm very aware of the "fur coat" industry that uses cats, and not just in Switzerland either...as jwfarrimond points out... jwfarrimond..yes I know about this..also there is a thriving business to have cats as "dinner'" as well as many oriental people consider cats as aphrodisiacs to eat...then there is the dog meat industry in the Philippines and many of the dogs are stolen as well....the Humane Society did a story and video of this some months ago
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
18 Mar 08
Oh--PS Aussie....these weren't just feral cats that the woman took in either...but mainly pet cats that many people couldn't keep
@Katlady2 (9925)
• United States
19 Mar 08
That is so shocking and sad. I was in tears as I was reading. For the life of me, I cannot see how people can claim to care for animals when in reality they really are just as you said..."glorified pet hoarders". I feel so bad for those poor kitties, and for the people that turned their pets over to Tiger Ranch.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
19 Mar 08
I saw one interview with this woman (have done a follow up story of this) and she claims its her "Christian Mission" to help these cats...like duh???
1 person likes this
@Katlady2 (9925)
• United States
20 Mar 08
Christian Mission??? I don't think it's very Christian to let those kitties suffer and die like that. Talk about a major DUH moment!
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
20 Mar 08
I know that's what really got to me about the christian mission thing...yikes
@daeckardt (6246)
• United States
17 Mar 08
This is really a sad story. Why would people claim to be helping and then leave the animals in such conditions??? I would certainly hope that people would have more consideration for animals than to tell people to bring hundreds of animals hundreds of miles and then leave them to become ill or die on account of bad accommodations and care. Thanks for sharing this story. I don't often look at the news so this is the way I am getting most of my information right now.
1 person likes this
@daeckardt (6246)
• United States
18 Mar 08
You are probably right about that. I find it hard to believe that someone could think that they wouldn't get a flood of pets in if they said they were doing pet rescue. But there has to be a better way than one person having to do it all. Isn't that where the groups that do temporary pet placement come in?
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
18 Mar 08
Yes many pet rescuers foster pets in their own homes temporarily until they can be placed in permanent homes. I think you already can see how this is a problem as rescuers can only foster so many pets at once without it getting out of hand--also, you have no idea the overwhelming overpopulation of pets there are in general..which is why many pets in the shelter type system are killed almost on a daily basis to make room for more coming in..even the so-called no-kill shelters do wind up euthanizing pets.
@Aurone (4758)
• United States
17 Mar 08
Poor poor, kitties. That is terrible and people trusted her with the lives of those precious cats. She should be ashamed and hopefully they will give her the max time for what she has done. These kinds of things do make it harder for the reputable places to exist and to gain people's trust.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
18 Mar 08
Its a shame the way our laws are that people who abuse pets don't get the same jail time or fines that people do if they abuse a child...but unfortunately pets are considered by law only "property"--how is that for injustice?
1 person likes this
@Aurone (4758)
• United States
18 Mar 08
There should be harsher laws for animal abuse. It just isn't right.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13160)
• United States
17 Mar 08
I read this last night and to be honest I couldn't respond then due to how it made me feel. Horrible doesn't even come close to discribing what this women did. There is no excuse she can ever come up with to try and justify this type of abuse to innocent creatures. To think she scammed so many people into thinking she was such a caring person is scary but the reality of what happened to the cats is far worse. I hope they throw the book at her, personally I'd like to see her suffer the same way some of the cats did but I know that won't happen. I just hope that the ones that are still alive can be treated and found good homes for. I'm just beyond words at what I feel in this case. You are right it is situations like this that damages the reputable rescuers and I'm sure it will cause many people to think twice about some.
@emeraldisle (13160)
• United States
18 Mar 08
I know it's a shame that this will happen to such beings. I think my cats know I'm writing about such things because I have three here supervising me :) Overall though I think for some it might be better to have them sent on then to try and save them. If they are too far gone then it might be better for them. I know for some that can be hard to understand but it can be a blessing whether we are discussing cats or humans.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42794)
• United States
17 Mar 08
wow what a blow for cat lovers. and why if she was taking that many cats didnt she have any help? dont take much to clean bowls put food and freash water out if that is all that needs to be done also a vet should have been hired to take care of the sick cats . If she charged this much all of this should have been in place . how did she get by with it for years?
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
18 Mar 08
I have no idea how much this particular woman may have charged for taking in cats...the one who did charge a fortune was a different rescuer but the conditions of the cats were just the same unfortunately. I have a pet rescuer friend who has NO WHERE near the amount of cats this woman had....but she spends approximately $3,000 a month on food alone plus money for vet bills...So can you imagine how much it would have cost this woman with 600 cats???
@Lakota12 (42794)
• United States
18 Mar 08
wow way way to much and she shouldnt of had that many catrs to beging with .that sure cost alot to take care of cats!
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14892)
• United States
19 Mar 08
This, pyewacket, is yet another example of the decline in integrity among businesses . What has happened to the idea that a business's reputation meant everything to it? More and more we see people cutting corners, producing shabby workmanship, and outright lying about their business practices. It's such a shame that all of those poor kitties had to suffer to bring this situation into the light. The irresponsible owner should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
1 person likes this
@irishmist (3843)
• United States
19 Mar 08
It was really sad to read this about all those poor cats. Just when you thinks these animals are going to good rescue places, then to hear about something like this is just so terrible. It seems you don't know who to trust these days. Just so sad.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
19 Mar 08
Yes this could be very damaging to REAL genuine pet rescuers who do a lot of good...now everyone is going to be suspicious of any rescuer
@irisheyes (4375)
• United States
17 Mar 08
Doesn't surprise me. Some of the Pennsylvania puppy mills are also among the worst in the country. I think it's hard to resue pets on any kind of a large scale basis. At least it seems that the smaller sanctuaries do a better job. There are several very good ones in the Eastern part of the state in Montgomery and Chester Counties but they are all much smaller operations.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
18 Mar 08
Yes, puppy mills aren't any better and I would like to see the day they all go out of business. The problem with stories like this, it puts almost all rescuers suspect...I happen to know pet rescuers and they are up in arms against this woman and the damaging image people might get toward all rescuers
• United States
17 Mar 08
Each cat carcass and cat that must be killed will add another charge of animal cruelty for Bruno, Rodgers said. "We will constantly be adding charges," she said. .......... I am soooooooooooooooooo glad to hear that. you have no idea... honestly to me it sound slike she was in the dealing buisness, you know people pay outragous amounts of money for tiger parts:( It looks to me u have cats too!(pyewaket) what do you think? why else would she have thoes cats in the freezer? and not barried them?. unles she was using the meat of thoes cats to feed the other cats. wich i really dont wanna think about:(. i just cant beleive this . its veary horrible~.
1 person likes this
@byfaithonly (10717)
• United States
17 Mar 08
This is so sad - I can't imagine any really caring person doing this. I mean I understand wanting to take in every stray but you also need to set limits and care for them once you have them, find them homes, or don't take them. Sounds to me like many of these cats would have been better off fending for themselves. Also think things like this give the 'reputable rescuers' a bad name.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43953)
• United States
18 Mar 08
I happen to know a lot of pet rescuers and they are so disgusted with this cause it really does give the whole pet rescuing a bad name and reputation--my theory is that this woman had a bit of pet hoarding...pet hoarders believe only they can take care of the animal and no one else..from the sound of it, it doesn't sound like she was genuinely trying to find homes for the cats but wanted to keep them all herself
@jwfarrimond (4477)
17 Mar 08
This is certainly a shocking story Pye. There are several things that occur to me. Firstly, is there no no requirement for these rescue places to be registered and / or regularly inspected? Secondly, if I was considering using such a place, I'd want to carry out my own inspection of the facilities and the conditions under which the cats were kept. If the owners are dealing with the cats properly, then they should not object to that. (I realise though, that it may not always be possible for people to personally do that if they live hundreds of miles away.) Thirdly, being charitable, perhaps this happened because she simply got overwhelmed by the numbers and could not cope?? In that case you might with justification ask "Why did she not get help or simply close the doors to more cat admissions?" Only the woman herself can answer that, but maybe she was just to stubborn or plain pig headed to ask for help. Some people are like that. Since she had a good reputation, she must presumably have started out providing decent care and conditions.
1 person likes this
@daeckardt (6246)
• United States
17 Mar 08
This is a really sad story. It seems terrible that people could tell others that they are helping and then leave the animals in such horrid conditions. I would certainly hope that in the future that people would take into consideration the need for providing a caring facility for unwanted animals and not just do it for the money.
1 person likes this