SOURCE: PetSmart Charities

PetSmart Charities

February 28, 2012 11:15 ET

PetSmart Charities'® Emergency Relief Waggin'® Vehicle Assists Hundreds of Cats in Madison County, Fla

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - Feb 28, 2012) - PetSmart Charities has dispatched three of its Emergency Relief Waggin'® vehicles, each stocked with $80,000 worth of crucial supplies, to the scene of an alleged animal hoarding situation in Lee, Fla. Hundreds of cats and two dogs are in need of emergency assistance and medical care after being discovered in an overcrowded and unsanitary cat sanctuary known as Caboodle Ranch. The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the lead agency in this rescue.

As a result of an investigation spanning more than a year, a search warrant was executed Monday morning for the removal of the animals. The ASPCA is collecting additional evidence on the property for the investigation. The founder of Caboodle Ranch has been arrested and multiple animal cruelty charges are pending.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the cats were living outside in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions with various medical issues that were left untreated. Many of the cats exhibited various signs of neglect and appear to be suffering from upper respiratory conditions and eye infections, among other medical issues. Several cats were in critical condition and responders discovered numerous deceased cats on the property.

The 53-foot PetSmart Charities' Emergency Relief Waggin' trailers and their 48-tons of cargo departed the PetSmart® Distribution Centers in Newnan, Ga. and Ottawa, Il., bound for the scene, where animal-rescue teams will operate an emergency animal shelter. The vehicles are stocked with crucial supplies, including pet food, wire crates, plastic carriers, litter, litter boxes, bowls, fans, a generator, a battery charger and lights to aid the animal rescuers on scene.

"PetSmart Charities also dispatches a team of specially trained volunteers to the scene," said Susana Della Maddalena, executive director of PetSmart Charities, Inc. "The volunteers are able to unload supplies and set up the temporary shelter very quickly, enabling on-the-ground rescuers to immediately attend to the animal victims. We are happy to be able to assist in this way to help give these cats a second chance at finding a lifelong, loving home."

"This is a tragic situation," said Tim Rickey, senior director of the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response team. "Caboodle Ranch was clearly overwhelmed with hundreds of cats in dire need of medical treatment, and the sanctuary had no adoption program or any spay/neuter efforts to effectively manage its current population."

The PetSmart Charities' Emergency Relief program is funded by donations. Members of the public can support the program by making a donation online, by email at gifts@petsmartcharities.org or via phone at 623-587-2826, to help more pets like these find the loving homes they deserve.

About PetSmart Charities
Established in 1994, PetSmart Charities, Inc. is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that creates and supports programs that save the lives of homeless pets, raise awareness of companion animal welfare issues and promote healthy relationships between people and pets. The largest funder of animal-welfare efforts in North America, PetSmart Charities has provided more than $165 million in grants and programs benefiting animal-welfare organizations and has helped save the lives of nearly 5 million pets through its in-store adoption program. To learn more about how PetSmart Charities is working toward its vision of a lifelong, loving home for every pet, visit petsmartcharities.org or call 1-800-423-PETS (7387).

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