Monday, June 12, 2017

California: Search warrant executed at Oak Meadows Ranch Horse Rescue, several cats seized amid "horrible conditions"

CALIFORNIA -- A ranch hand hand at the Oak Meadows Ranch Horse Rescue and Sanctuary refused to allow animal control officers access to the property yesterday.

Animal control officers then obtained and served a warrant at around 10:30 a.m. on June 6th at Oak Meadows Ranch Horse Rescue and Sanctuary at 23690 Bundy Canyon Road.

Six cats were seized that were living in “horrible conditions,” an officer said.

Animal Friends of the Valleys, which provides animal control services in Wildomar, had received information that animals might have been mistreated there, Officer Monique Middleton said.

No horses were seized from the property, Middleton said.

She said the cats were discovered in a dirty shed with little ventilation.

“In my opinion, that area had not been cleaned in months,” Middleton said. “There were two litter boxes in there overflowing. There was feces covering the floor.”

The ranch’s manager, Craig Phillips, offered a different narrative of events. He said the cats were well-taken care of and the ranch voluntarily gave them up after officers arrived.

“They were well-fed and watered,” he said. “They were fat and happy.”

He characterized the issue horrific conditions as ranchers not “cleaning up their litter fast enough.”

In addition to animal control officers, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and city code enforcement were present on the property.

The ranch hand was later arrested by deputies on two out-of-state warrants.

Phillips said he was not aware of the man’s history.

“He was not an employee, he was not a manager; he was a volunteer that was here while animal control was out and he told them, without my knowledge, to get a warrant,” he said.

Phillips said the ranch has typically had a fairly cordial relationship with Animal Friends of the Valleys and has always let them onto the property without issue.

“We have very healthy, happy horses and animal control has never had a problem,” he said.

But Middleton said that what animal control officers saw with the cats left them stunned.

“We could not breathe in there,” she said. “I don’t know how these cats were breathing.”

Kenneth Mayes - Some quick information I was able to dig up on State of California websites. This turns out to be another fine organization.

Their tax exempt status is currently "non exempt" and their entity status is "forfeited" according to the Franchise Tax Board. The Registry of Charitable Trust has sent them an "Intent to Suspend Letter" over year ago. The Secretary of State list them as FTB Suspended.

(Inland Empire Sports & News - June 7, 2017)