JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The owner a ranch where nearly 700 cats were found living in filthy, crowded conditions earlier this week spoke out Friday, surrounding himself with supporters who claim his cats were well taken car of.
Craig Grant is accused of medically neglecting the cats at Caboodle Ranch in Madison County. He said the cats are worse off in animal workers' custody.
"They really need to be at the ranch where they're happy," Grant said.
Grant believes undercover video captured by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is staged.
The organization claims he operated a "no-kill hell" full of sick cats that "spiraled out of control." It said Grant refused to put down cats that were critically ill.
It's an allegation he disagrees with.
"They'll go to the vet, and if he makes the decision to euthanize that cat, then he can go ahead and do it. He has my permission to do it," Grant said.
Grant said he never refused to take the cats to a veterinarian for the vet to make that decision, as PETA claims.
He said when he was slapped with this arrest warrant, he had no idea he was being investigated and now plans to fight the animal cruelty charges tooth and nail.
"It's bewildering," he said. "I'm really not prepared. It's just a surprise to me. It's very upsetting."
Ranch volunteers said they too are troubled by the accusations that the cats were dying in agony and living in filth as depicted in PETA's footage.
"They're just throwing stuff out there in hopes that they'll think that this is just a terrible thing, but within 10 minutes, that place would've been spick and span," ranch volunteer Nanette Entriken said.
Grant claims he kept records to show the cats were receiving treatment, that they're all spayed and neutered and accounted for.
But that's a much different story from what deputies said they found when they raided the ranch.
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