126 Pets Seized from FL Rescue Group

On the morning of November 8, police executed a search warrant at the Animal Rescue Konsortium (ARK) shelter in DeLand, FL.  Authorities had received complaints about sub-standard conditions at the shelter and the city sent a veterinarian to tour the facility.  Approximately 100 cats and 26 dogs were seized and farmed out to several different groups.

DeLand Deputy Police Chief Randy Henderson said the city has a no kill philosophy and saves 99.4% of its pets.  As such, he said he personally made phone calls to various no kill rescue groups and shelters in order to secure temporary housing for the seized pets from ARK.  Some advocates remain concerned:

No-kill advocates contacted The Beacon and said some of the rescued animals were taken to shelters in Flagler and Seminole counties that don’t have no-kill policies.

“That is true,” Henderson said. “But nothing can happen to these animals until court.”

Nothing can happen to the seized animals perhaps, unless they get sick or exhibit behavior that someone at a pet killing facility deems unacceptable.  Then I imagine things could quickly change.  And what about the pets displaced by the ARK animals at these facilities?  They are presumably being killed.

The alleged “deplorable conditions” at ARK remain unclear and circumstances seem a bit dodgy:

Shelter supporters have said the complaints were lodged frivolously by a rival animal-rescue group, and also said police and firefighters who entered the shelter got a skewed impression of conditions, because the morning clean-up had not yet been done by ARK volunteers.


“This is an attempt by several people in this area to shut us down. They want to prevent us from working with Second Chance Animal Shelter to maintain the city’s status as no-kill,” [Maggi] Hall [ARK president] said.


Karen Clark, director of another animal-welfare group, We Help Animals, was on the scene as police officers worked inside ARK. Clark said she was one of the people who filed written complaints about the shelter.

Clark said she has never been inside the ARK facility, but complained about overcrowding, sick animals, sick animals being adopted out, improper nutrition, and the failure to give adopters proper paperwork for their dogs.

A hearing is scheduled for November 19 to determine what will happen to the seized pets.  ARK’s attorney “asked that DeLand officials provide him with all written complaints filed with the city; all affidavits given or used in support of the search warrant and city code enforcement records about ARK and its property.”  This certainly sounds like a reasonable request.

Deputy Chief  Henderson “said the reports are still being written and that case specifics will not be released until after the outcome of the hearing or pending the need for further investigation.”

WESH has video and a number of photos from the seizure posted on its website.  The animals depicted appear to be healthy and socialized.  The worst thing the photographer saw was apparently this dog’s elbow callus, on which he/she zoomed in to give viewers a better look:

Image from the WESH website depicting a dog seized from ARK on November 8.

No charges have been filed.  I will post an update on the case after the hearing or whenever developments warrant.

(Thank you Clarice for sending me links on this story.)

20 thoughts on “126 Pets Seized from FL Rescue Group

  1. This quote says it all:

    “Clark said she has never been inside the ARK facility, but complained about overcrowding, sick animals, sick animals being adopted out, improper nutrition, and the failure to give adopters proper paperwork for their dogs.”

    Sounds to me more like a “revenge” thing than anything else.


  2. Good grief–big dogs get elbow calluses even living in a home with cushy beds, soft rugs and a grassy yard to loll about in! it’s not at all a mark of abuse–some dogs just rest weight on the elbows and a callus develops over time!

    1. I agree… I don’t see anything wrong with that elbow. it’s not raw, sore, bleeding, infected… looks like healthy tissue of an older dog… My dogs have those pad things and they have never been on concrete or confined to a kennel or crate.. This is BS

      1. Unfortunately, it is BS that works. Most people who are going to read this story don’t know about what is normal for a dog or cat, or what is acceptable. Such is the reason that the raids keep happening.

      2. I don’t think public ignorance has much to do with it, really – I suspect most people who read the articles assume there’s more to it, is all. Public complacency, more than ignorance, that’s what I see in it. There’s an assumption that animal welfare and rights agencies & groups live up to their names and press.

        I think these raids keep happening because they get positive press, and it makes the rescuing agency look good, assuming they can control the narrative. Since these stories typically have a very short shelf life, mostly they can; I don’t think the public at large are very interested in follow-up save in unusual cases. I’ve noticed in the last couple years, there’s less and less information given out on any one case as it happens – fewer stories, fewer ‘human interest’ stories, fewer blog posts, fewer photographs – and no follow-through. Most cases, unless we have inside information, we have no idea what happened to the animals. And I think, that’s the way these agencies like it.

  3. Am not in Florida so can’t comment on the conditions reported. However, (and this is one of those almost age-old rescue questions) why do some rescuers have bones to pick about other rescues that may not (and again, I have no idea if any of the allegations are true) have much, if any, basis in fact. God bless the rescue whistleblowers who do it for love of the animals, which all rescuers should be. Why, why, why the backbiting, jealousy, egos?

  4. I pay close attention to raids on animals. For several months, they wee happening at the rate of 2 a week. As it is now, there seems to be one every month. And those are just the ones we hear about in the paper. They have denied the ARK lawyer access to the reports, which is illegal. This happened on Nov 8 and they still don’t have written reports? How can that not be seen as incompetent. Let me go out on a limb here and predict that 1) All the cats will be killed, 2) Not all the dogs will be killed, 3) No animals will be returned to ARK at the dispo hearing. 4) Charges will be filed on everyone involved, including bogus charges which are made as bargaining chips for the prosecutor. I also predict that you are going to be hearing a lot about SMELL in the following actions by the prosecution. Smell is always a good thing to complain about because the one sense that people are always offended by is smell, and it is something that cannot be quantified or demonstrated, yet 99%^ of those involved in these raid cases says they could smell the place 3 blocks away. Even if NasalRanger is used at trial, the jury is not really told about what readings are in the normal range and what readings are acceptable. It literally turns into a “pissing” match because urine turns to ammonia. Here is another thing that IS going to happen if they get to trial and if ARK does not run out of money first and if their lawyer does not get tired of this and just walk away: Nearly all evidence of any animal rescue and all veterinary records supporting ARK will be suppressed at trial, if there is a trial. That is the most common tactic used against rescuers, breeders, sanctuaries and private pet owners. And I have not even gotten around to how badly the animals are abused during and after the seizure by the people who are doing the seizure, which is just fine with everyone because all those injuries can, in most cases, simply be blamed on the owners.

    1. Not all the cats will be killed but they will be disposed of. Most of the “adoptable” ones will be lucky enough to find homes but those that are considered feral or just too ugly or too old will never make it. If those that were sick or injured are lucky they will be treated but the same above applies to them too. And as another poster said, what happens to the animals that have been in the kill shelters too long already when they have to make room for these new animals? Like Michelle, I too have been following the Caboodle Ranch foolishness. They went through the same thing and are fighting for their lives now. I wish ARK all the luck in the world in beating this.

  5. Sounds so familiar to Caboodle and Angels Gate who did nothing except help unwanted and, in the case of the Gate, sick and dying pets. When will people use their God given brain instead of jumping to conclusions based on nothing.

    1. They screwed Caboodle A real big new hole! I had visited the place on a couple occasions and could not believe how clean and non smelly the place was! The cats there were all so happy! They would run up to you for petting, not away from you like the aspca is trying to make it sound! It’s all about the money and forget about the animals! Just send Money! If you are willing to donate, Caboodle Ranch needs donations to fight the hacked up charge on them! Please Help Caboodle and their Cats!

  6. Has anyone else noticed how they always make their raids early in the morning to catch the groups before they have a chance to clean up for the day? I don’t answer the door until I have cleaned for the day. I don’t have a rescue or shelter but I do have pets and they usually relieve themselves quite liberally during the night. I don’t want anyone walking in on a stinky house so I just ignore the door till everything is clean.

  7. I have been trying to find my dog “Murphy”. He was at ARK, Deland, Fl. He is part greyhound, part bluetick hound. If you know ANYTHING about him please let me know. My # is 912-257-5510 or email me. I would really appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks in advance for your assistance.

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