Op-Ed: Hoarding Behind the Animal Cruelty at Caboodle RanchPublished March 5, 2012
Flickr User Secret Tenerife
Reports and hard findings revealed that the felines were living in deplorable conditions− conditions that were documented by PETA video footage and disseminated to the mainstream media and general public.
In a series of blogs posted to the Caboodle Ranch website, ranch volunteers assert that its founder, Craig Grant’s, being taken into custody was a grave injustice.
These blogs paint the picture of a man dedicated to saving as many feline lives as possible, and attempts to invoke the audience's pity as Mr. Grant fights the good fight against two huge organizations that have supposedly wronged him: PETA and the ASPCA.
In their blog, Caboodle Ranch cites PETA's flair for the dramatic (which even the most objective reader can't deny) as a defense of Mr. Grant. The blogs almost go so far as to accuse these organizations of framing Grant, saying that the footage made for good video and that law enforcement came at just the right time to ensure the conditions at the ranch would look like an animal cruelty case.
It's clear Caboodle Ranch is clamoring to gain any support possible. Its also clear that this was a case of animal cruelty in some form. At the very least this was a variance of the term nobody seems to want to admit or discuss: animal hoarding.
No matter what you feel towards Mr. Grant and his aims of saving as many felines as possible, the video footage and images betray one thing: Grant bit off more than he could chew. The problem with animal hoarders in general is that they begin with genuinely good intentions but never realize they’ve crossed the line from caring to being over capacity.
It’s a slippery slope: Taking an animal in off the streets for safekeeping while a home is lined up; waiting and waiting for that to happen; taking in another and another; all the while those “safe” conditions are worsening.
In a way animal hoarders are guilty of being overly optimistic. They are blind to the worsening conditions in front of them because they perpetually look ahead. They only see the potential good that they are doing. In reality, they are putting themselves and the animals they continue to take in (as well as the animals they already have) in danger.
But the question remains, how can you condemn someone for rescuing animals?
People like Mr. Grant make a commendable effort. Animal rescuers should be praised, as it takes a rare breed and exceptional person to enter that life. But they also have to be able to make the hardest decision of all−the one to stop until space (and attention and money) for another animal becomes available.
Do you think the animal cruelty at Caboodle Ranch was due to a case of animal hoarding? Share your thoughts in a comment.