Life in Florida.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Updates on the animal abuse case in Buckingham, Florida

Among hundreds of other charges are 60 FELONY COUNTS of animal abuse against the owner....

From the Fort Myers News-Press, October 2nd:

"The floors were covered with urine and feces. Cats were crammed into crates, litter boxes overflowing. One puppy in particular paced obsessively back and forth in a tight circle, a condition known as kennel craze.

These were a few of the conditions described by Lee County sheriff's Deputy William Dunaske, who arrived at My Best Friend's animal rescue in Buckingham on Sept. 23. According to his report, released Wednesday, there were areas of the compound on Jackson Road he could not enter because of the stench.

There have been three arrests, two re-arrests, and sheriff's deputies are searching again for the third, owner Carrie Cagata, 40. She and employees James Cullen, 29, and Shannon Kraham, 25, face 120 counts of felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. Cullen and Kraham are each being held in Lee County Jail in lieu of $160,000 bond.

On Tuesday, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Kelly Worcester, head of the felony division of the state attorney's office, urging her to prosecute the case.
"To have allegedly denied these animals food and allowed them to slowly waste away is horrifically cruel," PETA casework manager Stephanie Bell wrote. "Too often, people who are convicted of crimes against animals walk out of court with a slap on the wrist. Because of the vile nature of this alleged crime, we urge Ms. Worcester to seek a sentence including incarceration if the defendants are convicted."

Deputies have not been able to locate Cagata, who was originally arrested Sept. 25 on eight counts of animal cruelty, and was released on $10,500 bond the same day. Lee County Animal Services, which has taken temporary custody of the 84 animals seized, has begun court proceedings to gain permanent custody of the animals so they can begin adoption proceedings, said spokeswoman Ria Brown. She said that could take as many as 30 days, possibly longer.
"They are certainly in a lot cleaner place, but some are still showing signs of the care that they were in, but we are treating them," Brown said. "But taking in that many at once, it does really affect the amount of space we have here for incoming animals."

She said they have had to send animals to the local Humane Society, as well as Collier County Domestic Animal Services in Naples to help with the overflow. Her agency for a time referred people to Cagata's rescue to adopt, but they began receiving complaints in January.

Three former employees tipped off investigators to the abuse. When Dunaske stepped onto the farm property, he described an overwhelming, sickening smell and dogs so thin that ribs and vertebrae protruded, and water bowls were not only empty but lined with dust.

When veterinarian Christopher Taylor examined the seized animals, he reported 12 of the cats were experiencing "pain, misery and discomfort" because of nasal discharge, eye drainage, eye mites, possible dehydration, lethargy, chlamydia and herpes." Taylor also found 52 of the dogs were suffering from various ailments, including bloody diarrhea, emaciation, wasting of muscles, dermatitis, fleas and ticks.

The rescue's sister clinic in North Fort Myers was closed in August, and has not been able to re-open after the theft of $40,000 in veterinary equipment earlier this month.

The News-Press first wrote about Cagata on Sept. 20 - three days before the search warrant was executed - at the time the theft report was made. She said the equipment belonged to her, and suspected former employees of taking it from her to start their own rescue.
Lee County sheriff's spokesman John Sheehan said that case is still under investigation.
At the time, she said her shelter had facilitated 600 adoptions in the year since she had taken over the shelter.

"Animals will come down with things when they are in large groups," Cagata said at the time. "But we always have had vets there to see them, and I have the bills to prove it. (My accusers) were trying to ruin our reputation." [End News-Press article.]

---------- **** ------------

From the Lee County Sheriff's website:

Press Release
Friday, October 03, 2008
Buckingham Shelter Owner Arrested Again

***Update #1****

Lee County sheriff's detectives have arrested two people in connection with a scam that left dozens of dogs and cats dead or starving. The investigation reveals that James Cullen, DOB 10-21-78, and Shannon Kraham, DOB 10-31-82, worked with the ringleader of a "rescue mission" called My Best Friend, Incorporated. The ringleader traveled to shelters around the state, taking dogs and cats and claiming she would find them a home. Instead, the ringleader sold the animals she could for a profit and left the others to Cullen and Kraham at a place referred to as "The Farm." Cullen and Kraham were in charge of "caring" for the animals, but allowed the ones they couldn't sell to simply starve to death. Detectives served a search warrant at "The Farm" , 5381 Jackson Road (Buckingham area of Lee County), where they discovered approximately 50 dogs and 30 cats, as well as rabbits and chickens. Dead dogs and cats were found on the premises, including dogs discovered deceased in a freezer. Many of the living animals were emaciated. The animals rescued have been turned over to Lee County Animal Services. Cullen and Kraham are each charged with animal cruelty and animal abandonment. Additional charges are pending. Detectives continue their search for other suspects in the case.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is confirming that Carrie W. Cagata is being sought by detectives on charges of animal cruelty and animal abandonment. She faces four felony counts of animal cruelty and four misdemeanor counts of animal abandonment. Anyone with any information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at (239) 477-1000...Additional charges are pending. The case is still under investigation.

***Update #2***

Carrie W. Cagata, age 40, of 8651 Belle Meade Drive, Fort Myers surrendered to authorities at the Lee County Jail tonight. She was wanted on charges of animal cruelty and animal abandonment after a search warrant was served and two other arrested yesterday, Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at a Buckingham residence. Fifty-three (53) dogs, twenty-eight (28) cats, two (2) chickens, and one (1) rabbit were rescued from the location. All of the animals were taken by officers with Lee County Animal Services to a veterinarian for initial examination and treatment. Additional details are listed in the prior releases below. The accused has been booked at the Lee County Jail ....

***Update #3***

Lee County sheriff's detectives have leveled more than one-hundred (100) additional charges against Carrie Cagata, DOB 11-12-67; Shannon Kraham, DOB 10-31-82; and James Cullen, DOB 10-21-78. They are being charged with one count of animal cruelty (felony) and one count of animal abandonment (misdemeanor) for each of the dogs and cats that were recently rescued from a Buckingham residence.

The additional charges follow the receipt of examination reports from the veterinarian. Open booking sheets have been prepared for Cagata and Kraham, who bonded out of jail following their initial arrests. Cullen has remained in the Lee County Jail since his arrest.

***Update #4***

Lee County sheriff's deputies arrested Shannon Kraham at approximately 4:30 pm on September 30th. Deputies are still searching for Carrie Cagata.

**Update #5**

Buckingham shelter owner Carrie Cagata turned herself in to sheriff's deputies October 2, 2008 at approximately 11:00 pm. Cagata was re-arrested after more than one-hundred additional charges were filed against her for animal cruelty and animal abandonment.


---------- **** -----------

You can read her arrest history at the Sheriff's website. Here's her smug ass smiling for the booking officer.

She's been released on a pre-trial basis. Her first hearing is October 27th. I hope that (upon conviction) her fellow inmates are just as kind to her as she was to the animals she left for dead - starving, sick and in their own filth. C'mon, karma!!!

What's going on here?

Yes, I deleted my more personal posts. It was fun for me to just babble about the things I'd never normally say out loud, but it's not exactly "me", so I thought I'd go back to reporting on crazy Florida shit, which was the original idea for this blog.

So, I will continue to post stuff, but I'll save myself the embarrassment of posting my own insanity! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Parent Arrested at JV High School Football Game

So, last night I went to my little cousin's JV football game ("little" doesn't describe him at 6'2", but he's still 13 years younger than I am). It was the Cape Coral Seahawks vs. the Dunbar Tigers. The game was great in the first quarter, sloooooow in the second and third, and really too explosive in the fourth.

The kids on either team were getting more and more hostile with each other. The Tigers kept getting penalties for encroachment, the Seahawks looked pissed, and tension was running high. During the last 30 seconds, the game was tied at 32. The Seahawks, thanks to Tigers' penalties for "unsportsman-like conduct", were poised for 1st and goal. It was at this time that one of the Dunbar parents started screaming at the refs. One ref said that he'd have to kick the guy out if he didn't calm down. The parent had a fit, saying that the ref can't do that. A cop comes over and tells the man to leave. He angrily refuses. The cop tries to escort the man out. The man starts to get a little violent with the cop. The cop arrests him, right there in front of all the kids and parents. Then, the Seahawks kick a field goal in the last 2 seconds and win the game!

On our way out, we see the obnoxious parent in the back of a police car. The cops are running around looking for the man's children and calling their mother to come pick them up while they take the father to jail. Bummer.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Stupid Horse Owners Who Piss Me Off...

Oh, there are many, many, many horse owners who make me furious. You can see many of them featured on the blog "Fugly Horse of the Day". I guess my rage originates from the horrendous mistreatment and lack of appreciation that some horse owners bestow on their four-legged charges. This anger is compounded by the fact that I cannot afford my own horse at this point. If I could afford my own horse, he or she would be one of the most loved equines on the planet. But, alas, these idiots get to have horses and I don't.

So, I thought I'd feature a few Floridian morons for you.

Here's a lady that works fulltime, so that means she can't care for her horses properly (BULLSHIT!)...

"I have a nine year old Arabian Mare ... I also have a nine year old Mustang Gelding that is a gentle rider. ... Neither one is registered. They both need your TLC. They don't have shoes. Both of them need to be wormed and need someone that has time to ride them regular. I'm working full time and don't have anyone to take care of them when I'm not home."

Folks, lots of horse people have fulltime jobs. It's how they support their horses. If you don't have the time, money, facilities and dedication, DO NOT BUY A HORSE!!!

Cowboys in Florida, Cowboys in Europe.

**Note: I have edited this based on the comment left by Jennifer - I don't usually bother editing anything, but I suppose in my original post I projected my disgust with one person onto a whole group of people. Not cool. So, here you go....**

So, I work with this 30-something woman - we'll call her Tina, but that's not her name - who thinks she knows everything. Tina has bleached blond hair (with 2-inch long dark roots that seem to never change), caked-on foundation make-up that is perpetually shiny, and bright reddish orangeish lipstick. She's really let herself go and has probably gained 50 pounds since I started working with her 3 years ago. However, she never bought new clothes for her new size, so for months she was coming in wearing shirts that she was literally busting the seams on. Her shirts were looking like sausage casing.

So, I know you think I'm just being mean, but on top of all of this outward ugliness, she has the personality to match. Not only is she frequently bitchy for no apparent reason, but she also: knows more about everything than anyone else, is cooler than everyone else, and will talk over you just so that you can't argue. Additionally, she deals out all of her bullshit with a full-on, thick as molasses and not as pleasant Kentucky accent. YUCK.

The public that she deals with has called her a "pitbull". I think that's a compliment, because what they really meant is something far nastier.

So, the other day, I'm in the break room and she walks up to me and says, "I heard you ride horses." Okay, many of my coworkers have seen me leave the building in breeches and half chaps going off to my hunter/jumper lesson, so they've taken on a kind of fascination with how I spend my free time - it's a sport they've never been close to. I have the same interest in skydiving, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, etc. So, I think that Tina might actually be interested - I start going through describing what the Hunt Seat Equitation discipline is and what Jumpers are. Hunters and Jumpers look something like this:

Stadium Jumping at the Olympic Games:

Hunter Seat Equitation:

The difference between these two disciplines:

  1. Show Jumping (demonstrated by the Stadium Jumping photo above) is a course of larger jumps where the rider's form is not judged. The horse and rider who clears the course of jumps in the fastest time and without knocking any rails down, or having the horse refuse a jump, wins.
  2. Hunter Seat Equitation - time is not a factor. Riders and horses are judged on the rider's form and how well the horse "goes", meaning how well he listens and how smoothly he does all the things asked of him. Hunters are judged in classes "on the flat" (no jumps: walk, trot, canter) and "over fences".

I explained to Tina that I have always ridden Hunters, but I am trying to train for jumpers as well. I wasn't bragging, or saying that I was any good at it. I simply said that I'd ridden for 12 years, took 10 years off, and now I've started again. It was at this point that I paused for her to reply...

She proceeded to go off about how she had ridden for years in Tennessee doing some kind of discipline where she had to gallop out and shoot at something and that the people she rode with thought that she did it so well, that they wanted to send her to Europe for training, but her mom said 'no'. For clarification's sake: she was trying her best to brag about this equestrian sport that I'd never even heard of.

An extensive internet search revealed a sport called "Cowboy Mounted Shooting". Um. Okay. Although I admit that it looks somewhat fun, I guess I just don't get it - why are they shooting balloons???

Yeah, you gallop a horse (typically a Quarterhorse, as they can turn on a dime) around a course and shoot balloons with blanks. I also found this photo, just to prove that Floridians dig this hokey shit, too. Here is
Denny Chapman, "entertainment horse trainer" (or whatever):

Now, for one thing, this is a COWBOY sport - so why in the hell would you go train for it in EUROPE? That's a blatant lie. Secondly, I think anyone with good aim and a little balance can do this sport. I have ridden Western on vacation a few times, and it is EASY. That's why it was developed - for pack horses and transportation. So, my verdict is that no one really offered to send Tina to Europe for training in Cowboy Mounted Shooting. Verdict #2: I hate this crap. I mean, I can understand the historical preservation of the Wild West aspect here, but there is something fully cheesey about this that I just can't put my finger on.


About Me

My photo
Ummmm... Well, you know, my mood changes every day, and I always have a new obsession. Today, I don't know what to write here.