Skip to Main Content

For Lilly

By PETA’s Investigator

I loved Lilly very much, but I could not save her.

I don’t know who left Lilly at Caboodle Ranch, but I am sure that they’d never have done so had they known what she would go through. Lilly was just one of the hundreds of cats kept at Caboodle—but I will never forget her. I first noticed her on September 17, 2011. On October 6, I named her. Less than four months later, she was dead.

Lilly had a quiet, very delicate way about her. She was a gorgeous black-and-white cat with medium-length hair; a sweet, shy disposition; and distinctive markings, including a patch of soft black fur stretching from her forehead to her little nose. She was perfect.

For more than four months, I tried my best to get Lilly the help that I knew she desperately needed. I saw Lilly grow sicker and sicker from September 17 on, until she couldn’t even lift her head up on January 30, 2012—her last day on Earth. By that time, she was cold to the touch, unresponsive, and very weak. When I picked her up, she felt lifeless.

Over the months, despite my repeated efforts, I could not get Caboodle’s founder and operator, Craig Grant, to take Lilly to the veterinarian—even though I pointed out her obviously dire condition frequently and repeatedly. Craig consistently refused my suggestions—and pleas—that Lilly be taken to the vet, even when her eye was bloody, swollen, encrusted with hair and goo, and practically falling out of her head. Finally, her cornea ruptured. Yet, Craig turned down my offers to drive her to a veterinarian for treatment. He turned down my request to take her home so that I could try to nurse her back to health. He referred to Lilly as “the cat with the bad eye.”

You may be thinking, “Why didn’t you just take Lilly?” I wish I could have, but that would have meant not just breaking the law but also endangering the investigation and the welfare of hundreds of cats, including others just as sick as Lilly.

Lilly spent the last 11 weeks of her miserable life in Caboodle’s so-called “sick ward” trailer, where I saw her grow more depressed and withdrawn by the day. Lilly is part of a criminal case against Craig Grant now, so I won’t go into too much detail on the sad deterioration of her health. Suffice it to say that she suffered terribly and unnecessarily. But she was not the only one: So many cats were left to struggle with treatable “colds” that developed into serious, sometimes fatal, illnesses. They sneezed, they coughed, they drooled, they gasped for air, bloody mucus came out of their noses … and worse.

By the time you read this, the cats will have been rescued and given the veterinary care that they so desperately need. That’s wonderful news for the survivors. But for Lilly, the seizure of the animals came too late. I spent a lot of time observing and getting to know Lilly. Throughout the time that I knew her, her life consisted of absolutely nothing but pain and misery. She knew no joy. I was hoping that Lilly would be able to hold on just a little bit longer and that I would be able to get her out and get her emergency care. My biggest regret is that I was unable to do that for her. I never got to meet the cat who she was before she became sick.

I may not have been able to save Lilly’s life, but I hope that people will be able to learn from her death and her story so that she will not have died in vain. I don’t know where Lilly came from, and I may never know, but throughout my time at Caboodle I saw hundreds of cats left at the facility. They were left mostly by people who had good intentions but felt that they had nowhere else to turn. I spoke with many of these people and their stories were similar: Their cat was urinating in the house; they were moving and couldn’t take their cat with them; the cat was a stray and they didn’t have “the heart” to take them to an animal shelter.

Whatever the case was with Lilly, she, along with hundreds of others, ended up at Caboodle. I want Lilly to be remembered always. I want people who have cats to go pet and play with them, and I want people who don’t have cats to consider adopting one or two if they’re prepared to provide a loving forever home. I want people to realize that animals, like people, aren’t perfect, and they shouldn’t be tossed aside because of that. I don’t want there ever to be another story like Lilly’s.

Please be sure that only trustworthy people are entrusted with the care of your companion animals. Things are not always as they seem. Do your research, investigate, and always put your animals’ best interests first.

And most importantly, please don’t forget Lilly.

Click here to go back to the investigation’s main page.

Commenting is closed.
  • gfunk says:

    I thought this ranch was pretty neat the first time i read about it. Now, not so much. This is ridiculous. I didn’t know he had that many cats. I’m sorry but he doesn’t have a zoo with zoo staff. This guy needs to be on animal hoarders. These cats are suffering. They should be placed in adopted homes with loving care taking parents! He’s leaving them to die out here. I’m sure they are all not treated for fleas, ticks, worms, etc. This isn’t a way for these cats to live. Thank you for your investigation.

  • Deborah says:

    To the investigator – thank you for all you did. I cannot imagine the pain you endured having to watch that unbelievable suffering and cruelty in order to help the majority of the cats. Please pay no attention to your detractors – you did the right thing for the cats. You are incredibly brave and strong. I wish I could be half as good a person as you are! Thank you again for saving their lives!

  • Nancy says:

    Dear “PETA Investigator”,

    Your story…”Lily’s story”, has touched my soul so deeply. Although I never saw her @ Caboodle Ranch, I feel I have known her forever. She stays ‘alive’ through YOU!! You are her voice! Also, I think I’ll disagree with you on your opinion that Lily had no joy in her life. I’m certain that she knew just how much you had come to love her, and that, considering the circumstances, she knew that you were doing all that you possible could do for her. She passed knowing that she was loved…her joy was your love! It takes special people to be able to handle special situations in life. I’ve got to say, I could have never gotten through it for a week! Hats off to you!! You’re correct. Without your putting time and enduring horrific incidents, you would have never had the complete evidence that it took to finally being the Neglect to a stop. I believe Lily was and has still been right there with you to help you along during the rest of your investigation so that you could save the rest of the kitties who still had a chance!! She did not die in vain, my dear! 😉

  • Pamela Jonasson says:

    TY TY TY PETA…MY heart goes out to this investigator and what a story even to have to repeat, the pain bringing it all back. This is how I feel losing my 3 babies to that scumbag. I pray they were rescued and I am offering 1000.00 per cat if they are at the new sanctuary in Jax….thank god, only 15-20 mins away!!!

  • Dana says:

    Dear Caboodle Investigator,

    My heart goes out to you for having to endure such pain while having to watch these cats suffer and die. I’m sure it was very hard for you on an emotional level. I was at Caboodle Ranch Feb 2011 for two days. I didn’t get to see all that you did but I saw enough and I felt so helpless that I couldn’t save them all. I thought that all I had to do was go home and call animal control/authorities and all would be taken care of. That is when I learned that animals take a back seat on the priority list of those who are responsible for protecting them. Don’t ever trust that making a complaint to authorities will be enough to end the cruelty. Many times animal control and the county don’t want to deal with hoarding cases because they are a lot of work and very expensive. Myself and others, who unfortunately witnessed the horrific sites at Caboodle, pushed the authorities for years to do something. I feel that if PETA had not got involved, Craig Grant would still be getting away with the suffering and deaths he caused for several more years to come.

  • AmyK says:

    For those of you attacking the PETA investigator – SHAME ON YOU!! Without the evidence he/she gathered, there would still be HUNDREDS of Lillies suffering and dying at Caboodle Ranch – and none would have their stories told. They would be dying in silence and anonymity. Apparently some people commenting here have no idea how an undercover investigation is done. The investigator had to see the investigation through to gather enough evidence for the police to finally do something about this wretched place. Nothing can be done until the authorities say so, and they will not say so without a mountain of evidence. Otherwise, those running the place of cruelty would just say it’s a one-time thing. In fact, they are still trying to argue that today. This investigator risked his/her life to get the evidence, and that evidence has saved hundreds of lives. I too wish Lilly could have been saved. But I’m glad the other cats are out of that hell hole, and will be moving on to a better life. Thank you PETA, and thanks to your incredible investigator for his/her work. It’s more than most people could have handled.

  • Susan says:

    I am disgusted not with the PETA investigator but with Craig Grant! He is the only one to blame and this heart felt article written by the investigator only makes me want to fight harder to punish the person or persons responsible. I will make sure if it’s the last thing I do that Lily didn’t die in vain!

  • Rosemarie says:

    You should not have let Lilly suffer. There is always a way. You could have gotten her to a vet if you wanted to. If the ranch was that big and the owner was that negletful, he would have never known she was gone. I have also read where PETA is against no kill shelters, so what’s up with that.

  • Popu Laguna says:

    Whoever criticizing the investigator, please think about this in his/her shoes. How can one risk failing the investigation to save one cat? Of course it’s really sad that Lilly didn’t get the chance to live a happy life. But seriously, do you really think they wanted to see Lilly suffer and die? What about investigations done on fur farms, where the investigator has to witness animals being skinned alive? Do you think it’s easy to watch? It’s the most heartbreaking thing ever. And the investigator is risking his or her own safety so they can expose the dark truth to the world. We all do what we can. The investigator has done his or her part, by collecting evidence and leading to the shutdown of that hellish facility. If you have never done anything for those poor animals or just animals in general, you have no right to blame the investigator for not being able to save one cat.

  • Xixi says:

    Peta you have my support. I thanks God to know what is happening at the ranch…..I can believe this man is an evil….. People do not judge Peta…. they are doing their best……. God will judge….

  • Luca Lotto says:

    hi folks,
    I should add that I can follow the thoughts and feelings of the given PETA investigator and am perfectly able to assume that he/she tried what was possible to him/her. Maybe today it would be possible to him/her to act in order to save Lilly from this cruel dying. There must have been an immense inner conflict within this investigator (and maybe some of his companions during that investigation). And I guess those conflicts haven’t come to an end now…and indeed must be hurting much more, since now he/she can no longer do something -at least not for Lilly.
    I think the PETA investigators are trained to suppress their feelings to some degree and so loose somewhat the sight…I also guess that PETA remove investigators who are “too emotional”. Without that agenda of PETA we (the outsiders) couldn’t get first hand information about human’s ability for almost unimaginable cruelty against defenseless animals (Earthlings). So to some significant degree PETA has to be cruel to itself (investigators) as well as to the animals just to get a chance to end that in future. And we have to admit that PETA indeed had some success in that.
    It’s war out there -and war always is cruel …for everybody.

  • Julie says:

    Absolutely disgusted that the writer of this article would allow that cat to die in pain. Sorry what PETA’s investigator did was wrong. I would never stand by and watch a cat die like this. Lilly should have “gone missing” and been taken by the investigator to a vet to be treated, paid for by Peta’s millions of dollars in donations that they receive every year. Whoever this undercover investigator is they are NOT a true animal lover or could never ever have stood by and done nothing. Craig’s permission was not needed for anything. Disgusting. Hope you feel happy for yourself woman or man. You may think you are hero but not in my eyes.

  • pippielongstocking says:

    I would have taken the cat to the vet, period. I know that investigations require certain restrictions, but I know 1000% I would have found a way to take her out of there, in the middle of the night, and gotten her veterinary care. I would have told Craig she died, period. This is very troubling – sorry, but your heart breaks for what you did not do, not for Lilly. Horrible.

  • Luca Lotto says:

    Please don’t be offended by my harsh tone. Finally, I think you tried what was possible to you to ease her pain (at least I hope that)…yes she was a nice one.

  • Luca Lotto says:

    you should have taken her.
    Now, you watched her suffering and dying. You were as cruel as this old guy. Your heart told you to help her.

  • Lilly says:

    My name is Lilly, too. I’ve often wondered how anyone who cares about animals can film their suffering..especially for weeks and months and not step in. I am, however, glad that these people exist, for without the necessary evidence we cannot prosecute. This breaks my heart…all of it. All animal cruelty must cease. NEVER give up! PETA, you have my support, always.

  • Melissa says:

    I could not go to a place like that and not raise the roof with my protests. I would have sneaked meds to her or taken her out of there for help. The people that run Caboodle Ranch should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and get extensive psychological screening. That is absolutely SICK, putting animals through that. I went to their website and read their weak excuses about what happened. One of the comments on the Caboodle website was about the person who was undercover for PETA should have helped clean it up rather than take videos. How else would you get the facts out that something was terribly wrong there? Regulations should be in place to monitor all animal care facilities.

  • JC says:

    I hope getting all that video was worth her life for you. I don’t know how you sleep at night after you sat there and watched her slowly die. You could have ended her suffering by taking her out of there or bringing in meds at any time. (Breaking the law, my behind… since when does PETA care about that? No law would have stopped me from doing what was right by her.) But then I have realized that PETA is not about animal rescue… It is about marketing and raising money. I am very sad. I though PETA was one of the few good guys. This video has changed my mind.

  • Hyaena says:

    Nothing would have stopped me from just taking her and then shrugging my shoulders and going ‘I don’t know what happened to her, I haven’t seen her all day’ or something. I think this is a cop-out and a BS excuse. By the way… right by my side there are three dear kitties, two of whom are rescues. If you honestly cared so much, you’d have found a way to help just that one, if nothing else.

  • Sharon Leiser says:

    This was absolutly sickening
    The responsible person should be made to live in the same conditions as theses poor kitties

  • Sand says:

    What the people that left there cats at caboodle ranch had good intentions! No way Moving is not a good reason. I moved every year and my cats have always come with me it been 10 years. My female has peeded around the house at times and I would never just drop them off at a place unknown. PETA you should teach people a pet is for its lifetime. Also there are responsible ways to rehome an animal if you have to. Like corresponding with the new owner to check up. These people were taking the easy way out and the animals suffers because of them. If not for these awful pet owners the caboodle ranch would not have been needed. With the strays that we’re droppe off that’s a different story they had just as much of a chance at caboodle as they had on the street but with a meal everyday.
    Except now you have stepped in and they will be put to sleep.

  • Caroline says:

    For the people that don’t understand why the investigator couldn’t take an animal from the facility, you need to look at the big picture, and send healing thoughts to those people. Imagine the nightmares they have, the flashes of animals, suffering, in their thoughts. I know I couldn’t do it. Could you?

  • Kat says:

    “For more than four months, I tried my best to get Lilly the help that I knew she desperately needed.” What total BS!!! Shame on you, “investigator”. You don’t even have the guts to put your name to this pathetic article. You watched that poor cat suffer in agony for four months, when, at ANY time you could have whisked her out of there to the vet. You worried about “breaking the law”. What rubbish! PETA never worried before about breaking the law. Oh, you lily livered pathetic excuse for a human being. For over FOUR MONTHS you allowed all those cats to suffer, just so you could get more and more videos. As the other person said, you had enough right near the beginning. My regard for PETA is now underneath the basement. They did this so they could support their own insane policy of “kill” shelters. PETA loves to kill animals. I will never support PETA again.

  • Debbie says:

    To Mary: I think you are wrong. This is not an evil man by anyone’s definition. He is probably not well, and currently self-deluded, but he needs our compassion,also. I believe his heart is truly broken. He started something he loved and believed in, and it go too big, and he couldn’t admit he couldn’t handle it. Pride may be a big player here, and many of us let our pride get in the way of judgment. I will not call him evil. He has a lot of love, and unfortunately, a lot of self-deception also. We all need to look at ourselves at times and do a hard thing, rather than kid ourselves into believing that what we are doing is working, or will eventually work.

  • mary again says:

    Why are’nt the local veternarians alerted who have the power to do something about this. I guess if theres no monetary incentive they dont care. This should have been taken care of from the get go. These places need to be monitored and to have open door policies and should have to answer to animal cruelty charges. They say anyone who abuses an animal will eventually go on to abuse a human. This man is not only Evil Human Being but a very dangerous one. I guess he was to coward to be a mass murderer so choose something that could not fight back. He deserves the same sentence as a mass murerer and be put with the general prison population along with the pedophiles and rapists. He is no different.Maybe someday before I leave this earth I wlll see this done and the public will not be so desensitized as to what goes on outside their comfort zone.

  • mary says:

    Doesnt that state have any animal control officers that could have been called in? I would think most states would have some form or law against animal cruelty.Why are so called shelters exempt from this?Where is Humane Society? I always wondered why the pick and choose their “Projects” This situation is no different. I would like to hear from ASPCA or Humane Society to see why this is happening. Makes me think the donations they get are going to administrative, etc. instead of where it should be going. Seems they only want the stuff that makes media headlines and anything else that doesnt get them legislative action or attention they don’t bother with. Thats why I dropped my membership to Humane Society and ASPCA.

  • Lauren says:

    First off I would like to thank PETA for being able to uncover such a tragic situation and utilize their best options to help these animals. Secondly, Id like to address Mark. I can understand that you believe the PETA workers actions to be neglectful and cruel, but truly try to put yourself on that position. A phone call doesn’t always do the trick;most of the time there needs to be proof documented – a form of a longitudinal study if you will. They followed the guidelines and thankfully have been able to save hundreds of animals lives. The deaths that occurred are one too many under unfortunate circumstance, however we should be grateful to know that Caboodle will not be able to neglect and harm animals again.

  • Paula Boyer says:

    This is absolutely tragic. While I understand you wanted ‘proof’, you had all the videos, the other cats also on film, why couldn’t you somehow smuggle this cat out, call the cops, do SOMETHING to get her to a vet? I rescue animals too. I get the pictures, get the evidence, then get them the hell out of there and to the vet. No way on Gods green earth would I have left this cat there. I don’t need or want the ‘glory’ that comes with the ‘nametag’. Shame on you. You dropped the ball on this one. Come hell or high water, you should have gotten these cats out of there as soon as you saw this. My heart bleeds for Lily and the rest of these poor cats for the nightmare they’ve been put through.

  • keenpetite says:

    Tragic how dear Lilly suffered but in the end 100’s of cats were saved, these secrett abusers deserve to get the most punishment the law affords. My kudos to the PETA investigator for performing a great deed for these lesser ones. They don’t judge, all the need is loving care.

  • Mark says:

    I feel the same as Current Peta Member. I know for a fact in Florida, a simple phone call to the police would have had the cat taken care of immediately as well as all the others. The laws in Florida on animal cruelty are pretty clear and I understand this was an investigation for Peta and not the state of Florida but was it so important to have this continue they way it did versus calling the police and having the state come in and remove the animals? It makes me sick to think that it was more important to get a good article and investigation for PETA versus actually saving the poor animals that you watched die while you continued your investigation. He’s not charged with criminal acts because this wasn’t done buy the state it was done by PETA and instead of having the state do it, they saw fit to do it themselves and watch the cruelty and video it to make a video to tear your heart out versus calling the police. boo boo PETA boo boo. The first video would have gotten action, the rest were for PETA to rip your heart out.

  • marilyn says:

    Is this guy in business? I thought not,but I see that his website is still up and current…Please,oh please….say it isn’t

  • Nyein Nyein Kyi says:

    I an terribly sorry. My heart has been broken. Nightmares after nightmares since first time i put my feet on that so called sanctuary. I do hope they can charge Craig Grant and also Nannette Entrinken, his assistant for negligence and and cruelty. I have seen those poor babies with my eyes too. Thanks for all your good work. Rest In Peace Dear Lilly and all who were lost in the the hands of these small time crooks.

  • Moondancer says:

    I won’t forget you Lilly. I’ve put your photos in a special folder and will remember your death-day each year. I, too don’t understand why the investigator couldn’t have smuggled her out to safety. The only reason I can think of is that Lilly was the chosen focus/proof for the investigation, the one ‘sacrificed’ for the welfare of the hundreds of other cats (ongoing) exposed to the same ordeals. Please correct me if I am wrong. I hope the investigator is recovering from the whole dreadful experience.


    I feel very deeply for the Peta investigator! She had a job to do and she did it!And could not save Lilly without jeopardizing the investigation and the lives of the other 100’s of cats. We salute you, Peta investigator! And hope you are taking very good care of yourself after a job WELL DONE ! CONGRATULATIONS!Many cats are resting comfortably tonite because of your efforts!

  • Deanna says:

    I had no idea that “no kill shelters” were unregulated. I don’t understand what reason that jerk was running this “sactuary hell hole” in the first place. Did he receive money $??? Thank you for making this public, i only wish he could end up living in conditions like these poor pets did-breaks my heart:(

  • Current Peta member says:

    You could have snuck Lilly out and got her attended to. I don’t believe for a second that this Craig owner would have missed her. This story leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I don’t believe in the unnecessary suffering of one for the potential sake of many. I believe all can be saved in a situation like this. Yes, you did a great thing by getting this charnel house shut down, but I think the Lilly story is met to have us tugging for our wallets and the truth is, it just leaves me depressed and stunned that you couldn’t get her attended to on your own volition.
    Disappointed Peta Member

  • Jenny syno says:

    Rest now sweet Lilly girl. My heart bleeds for these animals everyday i think of the horrible suffering animals are going through, just like these poor cats went through and it makes me so sad, so sick to my stomach to think- as we sit here and go about our lives animals are so needlessly suffering. recently a sick twisted man that used to be my neighbor (thank god he got kicked out) had many very sick and neglected and abused cats and kittens taken away from him. He was a horder of cats but not because he loved cats or animals because he’d abuse and kill them. I was witness to this. I made a report and wrote a 5page statement about him and thankfully his surviving cats were removed. I mean the man had dead kittens in his freezer. Why he isn’t being charged criminally i’ll never understand.

  • gill says:

    rip sweet baby. you will not be forgotten

  • kiznkitten says:

    It is true! I have been deceived by the nicest people. Go there and check out a potential home in person–better yet NEVER GIVE UP YOUR ANIMALS!!! If you can’t commit for life–don’t do it!!!

  • R says:

    This is one of the most horrific stories I have read in recent months,How sad that these lovely innocent and helpless cats had to endure the cruelty, pain, suffering and loveless environment that this “person” subjected them to, it is truly a travesty that happened in this hellhole of a sanctuary. I only hope and pray that his person spends an ENORMOUSE amount of time behind bars and realizes the hell he GAVE to these wonderful cats.

  • Carol says:

    Rest in peace, sweet Lilly. I hope you are in Kitty Heaven, playing with Cubby and Nutmeg.