The following was posted on tortiball.com: (My comments will be in italics and boldfaced)
Did PSPCA conduct independent investigation into Tiger Ranch?
Tiger Ranch: Questions (Part VI)
Today I came across an interesting paragraph in the blog on the Voices For Animals MySpace page (dated March 15, 2008 - two days after the PSPCA raided Tiger Ranch - and labelled “Tiger Ranch Update”):
It is not our position to judge what the owner’s intentions had been, we must focus on the situation the cats were living in and the fact that they urgently needed to be taken out of the establishment. However, we demand an investigation as to why this situation was not handled locally a long time ago, and are extremely appreciative of the fast response provided by the PSPCA in Philadelphia, which mobilized all available resources to help the cats of Tiger Ranch.
Did PSPCA just accept the undercover video of Deb Urmann and “testimony” of the other three co-conspirators (Becky Morrow, Carolyn DeForest, and Rebecca Reid) - none of whom are licensed Humane Officers in Pennsylvania - and swing into action without so much a lifting a finger to verify that the allegations were truthful and not, shall we say, “manufactured”?
Who told you the allegations were manufactured? Could it be, oh I don't know ... Lin Marie?
Why does evidence and testimony have to come from humane officers? Dr. Morrow is a licensed veterinarian and is perfectly capable of determining if animals were being cared for properly. She has had years of experience examining animals and diagnosing illnesses.
Besides, the evidence was so overwhelming in this case it was a no-brainer. The only people who don't believe the evidence are Lin Marie's cult following.
If they did conduct any sort of verification of these claims on their own - using people licensed and authorized to do so - we certainly haven’t heard about it.
Did it never occur to PSPCA that these four people - at least two of whom have been documented to have ulterior motives for targeting Tiger Ranch - might have something up their collective sleeves besides the welfare of the cats? Or was the lure of a good Animal Cops episode too great?
Please show me the documentation of the ulterior motives, Madras. What's that? You read it on some forums where the cult was posting all sorts of lies to try to discredit the four women because they don't have a case otherwise.
Did they not trust the judgement of their counterparts - the Humane Officers in the Allegheny County area?
If not, what does that say about the process of training and licensing those officers in Pennsylvania? If they really were turning a “blind eye” to Tiger Ranch… shouldn’t they be losing their jobs?
Exactly!!! Unfortunately there are a lot of politics involved. But don't forget, PA is as corrupt as any other state out there.
It seems that someone with an actual Humane Officer’s badge should have shown up at Tiger Ranch, knocked on the door, and taken a look-see around before storming the place with 120 people, ASPCA trucks, and film crews. (And yes, I KNOW that Animal Planet wasn’t permitted to be on the property during the raid.) Was the word of those four random citizens sufficient, given the potential for good TV and heavy PR? (Don’t even try to tell me about the undercover video. I’ve seen it.)
It wasn't just the word of four random citizens, they had much video evidence and statements and letters from many other people who got no action from the local humane organizations.
A search warrant was obtained (this is how the law works) after a judge (Judge Durkin) saw the evidence and determined there was probable cause. And, detectives that were on the scene to investigate, the evening of the rescue verified that THERE WAS ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO ARREST LIN MARIE ON THE SPOT! The detectives were not necessarily planning on arresting Lin Marie until they saw evidence of abuse or neglect. The first 13 charges were filed based on the first 13 cats they looked at. As I said before, it was a NO-BRAINER!
One of the local humane agents tipped off Lin Marie about the rescue operation. That is exactly why the local humane agents couldn't be trusted!!! Humane agents would help Lin Marie clean up before the so-called "surprise inspections."
Given that PSPCA is so concerned about who has the authority to investigate whom (PSPCA Statement Regarding the Actions of Mr. Chris DeRose of Last Chance for Animals (LCA) in the Tiger Ranch case):
Mr. DeRose’ s organization has no authority to conduct an investigation of PSPCA, nor does LCA have any legal standing in Pennsylvania with regard to the Tiger Ranch case. PSPCA is responsible for investigating animal cruelty cases in Pennsylvania and has done so with great distinction.
I would hope that actual Pennsylvania Humane Officers went onsite to view the conditions first hand before they “mobilized all available resources to help the cats of Tiger Ranch.”
It’s not like Lin Marie was going to flush the evidence (several hundred cats) down the toilet or something. Nor was she likely to come at them with machine guns-a-blazing. This was not a meth lab.
Actually, I'm glad you brought this up. Apparently, Lin Marie did "flush" a large quantity of cats before the raid, since she was tipped off by the humane agent. A large quantity of cats disappeared before the rescue operation could get there. That's why the initial estimates of animals were in the 700's.
Nope. Still not seeing the need for that top-secret surprise raid.
Blind and stupid, I guess. Do you think that a drug dealer would not try to get rid of the "evidence" before the police arrived, if tipped off in advance?
So, Voices For Animals supporters… now that the cats have been “taken out of the establishment,” how are you feeling about the surviving 265 cats that are living cramped in extremely close quarters in Clarion? With not even a scrap of sunlight available to stretch out in for a nap (since the windows are papered over to conceal whatever may be going on in there).
They’re now suffering from MRSA*, by the way (almost always a hospital-acquired condition).
Interesting that Lin Marie works at a nursing home isn't it? She's the person who had the most contact with the animals.
All together, sounds kind of like the conditions that, oh heck, lab animals are forced to endure. Isn’t Voices For Animals opposed animal experimentation and inhumane living conditions?
Tiger Ranch conditions were like a huge "disease experiment" that Lin Marie was conducting. Therefore, VFA was acting exactly as they should.
Who is speaking out for those cats now?
People who care a lot more for the well being of those animals than Lin Marie, in my opinion. I have seen this first hand. The people who work at the shelter have made huge sacrifices to help those cats. They are local people, who love and care for these cats.
But apparently VFA has moved on (”URGENT: 70 LAB RATS NEED HOMES” - LYnX, VFA Newsletter, Issue 21/Saturday, May 24, 2008).
Hope the rats get nice homes.
*Note added June 2, 2008:
Information regarding the MRSA diagnosis came to us via email directly from PSPCA on Wednesday, May 28: “We have also recently learned that they have a cat version of MRSA in addition to the plethora of other diseases that they have.” (Direct quote from text of email).
On June 2, 2008 PSPCA issued an update regarding this issue.
The original update appears on their website: http://www.pspca.org/news?id=104.
A copy is also archived here: http://tortiball.com/wp/2008/06/pspca-tiger-ranch-medical-update/.
Final Comments: Keep in mind that old Madras here has never once talked to any of the four ladies that presented the evidence to the PSPCA. She is only going by the information that she gets from blogs and forums (mostly lies), and, I believe, information she gets directly from the accused. She obviously has never dealt with the hoarder mentality and doesn't realize that hoarders lie!
Keep in mind that Madras has never been to Tiger Ranch!!! What does she really know about Lin Marie and Tiger Ranch? I have spoken with Lin Marie. I have spoken to supporters of Tiger Ranch (Now there are some, shall I say "different" people!). I have been to Tiger Ranch. I have talked to neighbors of Tiger Ranch. I have spoken to local veterinarians about Tiger Ranch. I have formed my opinion on solid experiences! In my opinion TIGER RANCH SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO OPEN AGAIN!!!