For photos and the original posting of this story please visit http://www.ragdoll.com/animal%20nazis.htm I have spoken with the gentleman that owns this cattery and he told me animal control is planning to come back for more of his cats. Keep in mind...his cattery was LEGAL until a new zoning requirement in his area was put into place. I find it appauling that animal control officers continue to remove animals from this clean, loving, and safe home only to place them into small mediocre (at best) kennels while they wait to be destroyed, or with any luck, adopted. My thoughts are with this cattery and I wish them the best of luck with their dealings with animal control.
I've noted the ongoing issue with the Riverside Animal Control people since May, 2008. I obtained a cattery license from them in 1980, and it's been in effect until May, 2008. In that month, I paid for my 2009 cattery license renewal, a cost of $200 per year. They denied the issuance of a license to me, yet failed to give me any reasoning. I had to go to the Riverside County building to figure out what was at issue. I had never had my license removed for any animal related issues, so I had no idea what the issue was. According to a 1987 zoning "modification", all licensed catteries at that time had restrictions put on them, and the cattery would have to either reduce the number of cats allowed per parcel (according to current zoning stipulations), or cease to operate in the next 20 years. Evidently Riverside Animal Control was "clueless" about this ordinance change, as they continued to accept my license fees, and yet NEVER sent me a registered letter, a standard letter, phoned me, or verbally told me on their "surprise visits" of this impending issue. I was one of about 7 people who actually had a legal cattery issue was affected by this. I was licensed to have 25 or more cats--not that I intended on having that many adults all of the time, but technically if a kitten is over 4 months of age, they can count it as an adult. So a few litters and I'm at 25 or more cats, considering that they count kittens. I paid $1500 to an attorney to check into my possibilities of maintaining a license, but that was a waste of money--no results. I found out on my own that any current cattery license in my locale is required to have at least 1 acre of land. You NEED A CATTERY LICENSE if you own 10 or more cats, whether you sell them, or just have them as your pets. I could apply for a variance, but that required $10,000 to be posted with Riverside County (supposedly to pay for paperwork), and then a public hearing would be held. There is no guarantee a license would be granted. And the $10, 000 is a NON-REFUNDABLE FEE.
In mid September, 2009, my wife and I were part of a group meeting in the Riverside County building. Present were 2 members of supervisor of my area of Riverside, 3 members of Animal Control, and 2 members of the Zoning Commission. I explained the issues to everyone there to see if any solution could be sought. Part of the arrangement was that Animal Control would only come if they called ahead of time. My wife even stated to call her cell phone, and she would be there too for their visit. Guess what? They said they tried to call. I have caller ID, no evidence of a call. They stated there was no answer. I told them I have call waiting. If I'm on a call trying to place a cat, I'm not going to "click it over" to speak to someone else or hear a "robot call" trying to sell me something. They failed to call my wife's cell number too. They have allowed me to keep cats here, although nowhere near 25+ that was allowed with my license. They gave me until mid February, to get down to "their magic number" of cats. And to make matters worse, my altered pet cats COUNT as part of the number of allowed cats. Well, that day finally arrived today. THE FOLLOWING "VISIT" WAS NOT DUE TO OVERCROWDING OR ANIMAL ABUSE. Their "visit" was in regards to enforcing the current zoning restrictions, which is mandated by Code Enforcement of Riverside County. The CODE ENFORCEMENT vehicles of Riverside County, CA can be seen patrolling my housing area on a regular basis (including weekends), with their agents using binoculars to "spy" over fences, etc. At 10 AM, I arrived home to see the following:
I WAS TOLD they came to remove cats. The indicated 8 was the number they wanted today.
No photos available of the 7 month old blue mitted male, or the 11 month old blue cream bicolor female, or the 11 month old seal bicolor female, or Pasta--the 10 year old seal mitted female. I had to decide which cats I could release to them, not a pleasant task by any means. I was almost in tears, my helper lady was crying, but it was "happy days" for Animal Control. I raised my voice to have my son leave the room, and the female agent said "she felt threatened". I had also closed the door so I didn't have to listed to my son's remarks outside the cattery door. The female agent said she "felt threatened" when I closed the door, and asked me "are you locking me in?" She threatened to call the police, and I told her I had done nothing wrong. This was an unpleasant task, a fact she did not seem to realize. The process begins:
During the meeting in mid September, 2009, the head of Animal Control told me that any cats they removed would NOT be euthanized. A brand new multi million dollar shelter was supposed to be completed, and I was promised than any cats removed would be placed in their new "high tech" viewing room, to assure the cat's got new homes. In regards to the promises from Animal Control, no efforts were made to cat adoption services, as I truly believed any cats removed would be re-homed. This does not appear to be the case. I was verbally told by the larger female agent that the new facilities would NOT be ready until mid April, 2010--so I now know that the cats will be housed in the "less than ideal" OLD current facility, which not the best. SECONDLY, I had to sign a release statement after they removed the cats. I had to initial more than one line that talks about "..may be euthanized", again not what I had agreed to in that September meeting. You can see the release statements in links below.
Stupid me. I thought that the head of a major department within my county would abide by a promise made in an "official meeting". Promises like:
Calling for an appointment to come to my cattery. No call at all.
Putting the cats on display in their new facility. If the facility wasn't done, then why not wait until the building was finished?
Agreeing not the euthanize any cats. I had to initial 2 spots on the "Statement of owner release" where it clearly states they can be put to sleep. One spot states they will only keep the cats for 5 days, after which time, they may be euthanized. Nice, huh? I was too upset to read the "small print" while 3 agents were breathing down my neck. I only noted these notations about 2 hours after they left, and I was finally able to calm down.
During the "raid", I was left in the cattery with one female agent. My son was upset, and I told him to leave the cattery. I told him a second time in a louder voice, and then slammed the door. The female agent said she "felt threatened and thought she should call the police". After I closed the door, her next statement was "are you trying to lock me in this building, I feel even more threatened". Lock her in? I was standing 4 feet from the woman. A couple of hours later, my helper lady told my wife that it definitely appeared that the woman agent was trying to "push my buttons" to make me do something that is against my nature. Speaking to another Ragdoll breeder who keeps abreast of the growing threat by local government to eliminate breeders, I was told that these agents are trained to try to agitate the owner to the point where the agents call the police. Once a police file is generated in the animal case, the animal agency has a greater chance of winning their case.
Refer to the links below to view the 2 signed release statements.
Riverside County Release 1 for 3 male Ragdolls
Riverside County Release 2 for 5 female Ragdolls
DID YOU KNOW:
Animal Control will enter your yard unless you have a locked padlock on it? Several months ago, I sat in my office doing some paperwork. I heard a noise, and looked out to see 2 Animal Control agents walking through my gate. I now have a chain and a padlock on both of my property gates. When I thought they were "done with their business" on 3-4-10, I went back in my home to calm down. A few minutes later, I looked outside, and did NOT see the male Animal Control officer. I went outside to check, and he had walked back into my yard, without permission, and was asking questions of my helper. I quickly went to the back, and asked him to leave. I know he left her his business card, and for what reason??
My agreement with Animal Control was for them to call prior to every visit. I do get busy shipping cats, going to the vet, buying supplies, driving to the airport, etc. So a phone call assures them that I will be available for their visit.
Current law, effective July 1, 2009 requires that each kitten or puppy sold in Riverside county be microchipped. IN ADDITION, they want the name, address and phone number of the new owner as well as the specific chip number that was implanted into the sold kitten.
Please read how to respond to Animal Control on this Link: When Animal Control knocks on your door.
At the end of their "visit", they promise to come back in one month. Any other cats here that exceed "their magic number" will probably be taken. BTW, any alters also count as part of this new maximum number of cats I'm allowed. Today has been a horrible day. I phoned my wife at work, and she had to come home. She couldn't stop crying.