120 Animal Cruelty and Abandonment Charges Plea Bargained to 2 Misdemeanor Animal Abuse Charges
Carrie Cagata, director of My Best Friend, Inc., who was charged with 120 counts of animal cruelty and abandonment, 60 of them felony charges, has somehow managed to plea bargain herself a “slap on the wrist” and has been convicted of only 2 measly misdemeanor charges of animal abuse! Now what I want to know is who did she pay off, in one way or another, to have these charges reduced to almost nothing??
When “the farm,” in Lee County, Florida, as the hell hole was called where animal that they stuck that they couldn’t sell for a profit, was raided in September of 2009, Lee County Sheriff’s Department seized more than 70 animals from a Buckingham area property; dogs, cats, rabbits and chickens as well as dead animals that were stored in the freezer. The animals were basically left there to starved since they couldn’t bring a profit. Many were sick, malnourished and left in deplorable conditions all as part of a horrendous “rescue scam.”
According to detectives, the “ringleader” [Carrie Cagata] would go to shelters across the state and pick up animals, promising to find them good homes.
However, it was revealed the animals were sold as a profit.
The others that could not be sold were allegedly turned over to the Jackson Road property which the “ringleader” called “the farm”.
Detectives say Cullen and Kraham told them they cared for the animals in exchange for room and board.
Cagata’s two accomplices, or caretakers, James Cullen and Shannon Kraham, were arrested at the time. Now get this; James Cullen who was also charged with 60 felony animal cruelty charges and 60 animal abandonment charges pleaded guilty in March 300 days in jail, 12 months probation, and over $1,900 in fines and court costs.
Compare that to Cagata’s sentence and remember that this bitch was the “ringleader” and director of My Best Friend, Inc; Judge Edward J. Volz sentenced her to two years’ probation, $2,000 in fines plus court and prosecution costs ($190 court costs, $100 cost of prosecution), 400 hours of community service and no contact with any animals during her probation period other than the pets she currently owns.
How the hell can an underling get almost a year in year when the criminal mind behind this abomination of a rescue walks away with a “slap on the wrist?” What’s going on in Lee County, FL?? Not enough evidence? Oh, I’m sure that Cullen and Kraham would have happily testified against this waste of life scum. So what’s the problem??
I really don’t understand how the State felt they could only “prove” two misdemeanor charges!!
According to former staff members, Cagata bought the nonprofit My Best Friend’s Inc. about 18 months ago. Since roughly that time, Lee County Animal Services has received at least six complaints about the organization.
Cagata herself had at least five complaints from Animal Services, dating back to November 2005 with the most recent on May 21.
Sandra Hinderliter, who worked at the organization’s clinic in North Fort Myers, said Cagata was housing animals, many of them sick and emaciated, at the clinic in June.
“She kept bringing dogs in to the shelter (to live),” Hinderliter said. “This is a clinic, it’s not a shelter.”
Complaint after complaint after complaint… does anyone else see a problem here??
Ok, this is a description of “the farm” from a Lee County deputy:
“The floors were partially covered with urine and feces. There was feces in the bathtub. The stench was such that I could barely stand to be in the house. In the laundry room, I found a terrier. The dog was so thin that I could not only count ribs but vertebrae as well. The dog’s gums were very pale, almost white.
“There was a shed behind the house containing numerous cats. I did not enter this building because of the stench. I could see through the front door numerous cats in cages and crates. The litter boxes were overflowing. I viewed pictures taken inside by Animal Control Officers and could see that most of the water bowls were not only empty, but contained dust and dirt. ‘Cagata’ was written on the top of one of the crates.
“Also behind the house were several kennels containing dogs. The floors of the kennels were partially covered with urine and feces. Some of the dogs had open sores. Many of the dogs did not have water available to them. There was one tan dog in particular that was running in a tight circle. Animal Control Officers told me it appeared to be due to a condition called kennel craze. Dogs develop this when they are confined in a small area for a long period of time. The dog learns to hold its head to the side and only run in circles.”
In October Cataga did sign over the seized animals to Lee County Domestic Animal Services and most of them were nursed back to health and adopted into loving families, thankfully… at a cost to the taxpayers of $70,000!!! Somehow I don’t think her whopping $2000 fine is going to cover much of that.
Hope you’re listening Lee County, Fl residents, see who and what you’re footing the bill for?
If you think she was smiling in her booking shot here, imagine how much she’s smiling now, and probably having a good laugh too! I’d like to lock her up in one of the shed on “the farm” and leave her in the same conditions she left those poor animals to suffer day after day without food and water, in the heat of the blistering FL summer.
Oh, I could go on.. and on and on and on but the bottom line here is somehow, some way, the State dropped the ball and allowed this POS to walk. Oh, one of her accomplices was sentenced to do time. Somehow “the State” managed to prove the charges against him, guess he wasn’t pretty enough or didn’t have enough money to buy the right… “representation.”
Just another case of injustice. Can we at least plaster her face all over the internet so that she can’t go anywhere without someone pointing at her and calling her the abuser that she is, cringing in disgust??
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